New Ideas Become Part of Tradition in Ancient Fishing Village

A Hong Kong fish market. (Photo by Michael Lombardi)

I just returned from the remote island of Kat O, a historic fishing village located in Hong Kong’s North District.

The island was once a major fishing settlement, but is now home to fewer than 50 permanent residents, leaving only scattered remains of this previously sprawling hub available to maintain fishing and aquaculture. My mission: introduce new diving technology within this old-world setting to develop new roles and an increased value for humans to have as the aquaculture research industry grows.

With a population density of 17,000 people per square mile, Hong Kong is no stranger to the pressures of the modern world. High on the list of priorities is finding enough protein to feed this massive population center. With the city resting alongside the South China Sea, the seafood industry here trumps all, and Hong Kongers’ diverse palette includes just about every creature in the sea, whether the species is part of a sustainable fishery or not.

Diverse creatures of the sea await consumption at a Hong Kong fish market. (Photo by Michael Lombardi)

Still popular among the Kat O resident fisherman is the use of fish rafts, the old-world version of pen raising commercial species. The point of this week’s journey was to take part in raising the stakes in Hong Kong’s sustainable fisheries with new techniques in Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) developed by the City University of Hong Kong at their very modernized fish raft.

The few remaining Kat O residents practice many traditional Eastern fishing practices. (Photo by Michael Lombardi)

Like an Underwater SimCity

The City University of Hong Kong’s State Key Laboratory in Marine Pollution, under the leadership of Dr. Leo Chan, has established a state-of-the-art IMTA platform off the shores of Kat O. It’s a bit of a surreal environment—the remote village on Kat O lies across the —> Read More