Lifestyle See and do

Macau’s historic fishing industry

Written by Yuci Tai

I know a traditional fishing family and each year in May – which is the fishing moratorium – they invite me to a barbecue on their boat where they tell all sorts of fishing stories. Sadly, it is mainly the older generation now running the Macau fishing industry with most of the younger generation having returned to land, so the industry is getting rapidly smaller and will eventually be consigned to the history books.

Macau was originally a small fishing village before it became a Portuguese colony, then a Chinese foreign trade port and the transit port for Western countries trading in the Orient. During the early days of the Portuguese colony, fishing and transit trading were the main economic activities and the three traditional handicraft industries were incense, matches and firecrackers.

The transit port position of Macau was replaced a long time ago by Hong Kong and the three handicraft industries are gone, so the only industry you can still witness personally is fishing. During the fishing moratorium, there is a chance for people to learn all about this industry and the local culture and I highly recommend wandering down to the harbor to take a look.

There are also cruises available which take you on a guided tour of Macau’s key fishing ports and landmarks. Make sure you put it in the calendar!