Hello from Hong Kong!
We arrived yesterday afternoon & spent the second half of the day settling in and getting to know the area. We’re staying in the Chai Wan area, it’s hot here at the moment and very humid too!
This morning we were up bright and early for a full day of activities, starting with a trip to Hoi Ha Wan marine reserve. Here, we had a chance to learn about the coral reefs in the reserve from Sophia, who works for the WWF. She taught us lots about the coral reefs in the area & how the marine reserve helps protect essential species such as coral & sea cucumbers.
After Sophia’s talk, we got to jump on a glass-bottomed boat and have a tour of the reserve! Here’s a cheesy photo of the group together on the boat.
We had a chance to spot some really interesting coral species, as well as a lot of other species such as sea cucumbers, urchins & anemones. Part of the tour also showed us an area of coral ‘skeletons’, where dead corals had accumulated along a part of the reserve, shown in the photo below.
After the boat tour, we had another chance for Sophia to teach us a little on the work the WWF do to advise the people of Hong Kong on how to eat seafood more sustainably. She taught us about the WWF Seafood Guide, which assesses and categorises each species into 3 groups; ‘Recommended’, ‘Think Twice’ or ‘Avoid’, using information on the species’ life history, fishing method, ecological impact & loads of other factors too! After this, it was time to put these ideas into action, and head to Shai Kung’s live fish markets to see how difficult it can be to put those theories into practice.
When we arrived in Shai Kung, it was pretty surprising to see the number of different species available in the surrounding area. As we walked through the seafront and the wet market, there were so many stalls selling all kinds of live produce, including cuttlefish, mantis shrimp, groupers & crabs.
For some of these individuals, we managed to use the guides and the WWF Seafood Guide app to identify how sustainable a choice they would be. However, there were several we did struggle to find. We mostly found that the fish available were not the most sustainable choices, fitting into either the ‘Think Twice’ or ‘Avoid’ categories. This is obviously concerning as Hong Kong have the 2nd highest seafood consumption per capita in the world!
We rounded the evening off with a talk from Loby, from the Bloom Foundation. Loby spoke to us a little more on sustainability in seafood in the Hong Kong area, and how the Bloom Foundation are helping push for more legislation to be put in place to protect the species being overfished.
Loby spoke to us about the Humphead Wrasse, a species that is often fished whilst juvenile. Due to this, the species is not being given a chance to reproduce before capture. There is now legislature in place, meaning a license needs to be held to sell this species, & a certain quota must not be exceeded. However, it seems that this legislature is often being ignored, and this is one of the issues that needs to be tackled next in the fight for sustainability in seafood here.
Tomorrow we are off to have a look at the dried seafood markets & some exotic pet stores, so I will make sure to post an update on our findings there!
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I thought I’d leave you with this photo of our lovely view from the roof of our hotel!
See you soon,
sf458 October 10th, 2019 Hong Kong