A documentary film depicting the nation’s fishing industry over the past 100 years was released yesterday in a bid to help the public gain a better understanding of the nation’s fishery developments.
The ocean has played an important role in the development of Taiwan and its impact should be recorded, “especially the development of Taiwan’s distant water fishing industry, which has allowed a small country like us to achieve an important role in the three main oceans of the world,” Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) said.
The 48-minute documentary, produced by the Council of Agriculture’s Fishery Agency and titled Bravely Sail the Blue Seas (勇渡瀾海), begins by depicting ancestors’ use of stone weirs, which were built along the shore according to their knowledge of the tides and the directions which fish swim.
Starting from about 1955, advanced shipbuilding technology allowed Taiwanese fishermen to sail further into distant waters, catching fish in all the main oceans around the world, the film shows.
During the 1970s and 1980s, large squid fishing boats and cold-storage tuna fishing boats joined the distant water fishing fleets, and the industry grew rapidly, turning Taiwan into one of the strongest fishing nations in the world.
Accounts from several fishermen from various fishing industries were included in the film to give the public a better understanding of the lives of fishermen.
“I received a call from my wife saying she had given birth to our daughter, but it was impossible for me to get back to be with them,” a deep-water fisherman says in the film, describing the sacrifice he and fellow fishermen had to make in order to fish in foreign waters.
In addition, aquaculture has also flourished as an important industry in Taiwan and cultivation techniques have advanced throughout the years.
At one point, Taiwanese imports held 65 percent of Japan’s eel market, the film showed.
In recent years, as a result of dwindling ocean resources, the aquaculture industry has also begun developing refined aquaculture, such as the cultivation of fish with high economic value or tropical pet fish.
Trailers for the documentary have been uploaded to its official Web site and YouTube, the Fisheries Agency said, expressing the hope that more people will come to care about the nation’s fishing heritage.
The Council of Agriculture’s Fishery Agency has produced a number of documentaries in the past on topics ranging from farming and forestry to stock raising and agricultural engineering.