"Only registered fishing vessels are allowed to engage in fishing within Hong Kong waters. The AFCD has received about 3 700 applications for registration so far," a spokesman for the AFCD said.
Under the Fisheries Protection (Amendment) Ordinance 2012 (Amendment Ordinance), no person may be engaged in fishing with the use or aid of a vessel in Hong Kong waters, unless (i) the vessel is a registered vessel; (ii) the person is so engaged under and in accordance with a valid research fishing permit; or (iii) the fishing falls under the list of permitted fishing with the use or aid of non-fishing vessels or local fishing vessels which have not been registered.
Any offender on conviction is liable to a maximum penalty of a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for six months.
The Amendment Ordinance provides for the setting up of a registration system for local fishing vessels, with a view to maintaining an appropriate level of fishing effort in Hong Kong waters. Fishing vessel owners fulfilling the following criteria can apply for registration of their vessels:
- The vessel is designed and equipped to be used primarily for fishing;
- The vessel possessed, on June 15, 2012, a valid operating licence issued by the Marine Department (MD); or
- If the vessel is acquired or constructed after June 15, 2012, its owner must possess an Approval-in-Principle Letter issued by the MD to acquire or construct the vessel that was valid on June 15, 2012, and a valid operating licence issued by the MD by the time of application for registration.
Fishing vessel owners must submit their completed forms together with other required documents in person or by proxy on or before June 14 to 5/F, AFCD, Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices, 303 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Kowloon.
Application forms and details are available on the AFCD's website: www.afcd.gov.hk. For enquiries, please call 2150 7108 during office hours.