A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said that the Government conducted a review of the FDLF with the aim of providing loans for improving environmental friendliness and cost effectiveness of fishing vessels, and making appropriate adjustments where necessary so as to match the fisheries community's needs for developing or switching to more sustainable fisheries. The major revisions are as follows:
- Expanding the scope of the FDLF: In addition to capture fishermen and fish farmers, owners of fish collectors will also be eligible for the FDLF. Both capture fishermen and owners of fish collectors may use the loans for switching to more sustainable fisheries operations and other fisheries-related operations, and for carrying out projects that will reduce fuel consumption or the carbon footprint of their operations without increasing fishing effort.
- Providing one-off loans to owners of trawlers and fish collectors affected by the trawl ban: These vessel owners are offered loans at an interest rate of one per cent per annum for the full term of the loan tenure for upgrading their vessels to operate outside Hong Kong waters, or switching to more sustainable fisheries operations and other fisheries-related operations, or for carrying out projects that will reduce fuel consumption. These applications should be submitted on or before December 31, 2015.
- Relaxing security requirements: The FDLF will accept up to 95 per cent of the construction cost of a newly constructed fishing vessel or fish collector, or 95 per cent of the estimated market selling price of a vessel provided as collateral.
"Not only will these revisions provide assistance to the fisheries sector affected by the trawl ban, they also benefit the industry in developing environmentally friendly operations, which will in turn help protect the local marine and fisheries resources as well as the environment as a whole," the spokesman said.
To protect our precious marine and fisheries resources, trawling will be banned in Hong Kong waters with effect from December 31, 2012.
The application forms and details of the FDLF are available from the AFCD webpage (www.afcd.gov.hk), the Fisheries Credit Section of the AFCD and the liaison offices of the Fish Marketing Organization. For enquiries, please call 2150 7095 during office hours.