|Cheng Gong Fishing Port|
Fishing is a huge industry in Taiwan, and fishing ports can be found in every county except Nantou 南投. Every day - and perhaps every hour - thousands of tons of seafood are exported from Taiwan to markets in Japan, Mainland China, and elsewhere. Fishing is big business.
If you haven't visited your local fishing port yet, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Fishing ports can be very interesting and educational places, especially when local fishermen are bringing in the day's catch. I've learned more about native fish from fishing ports than I have from any aquarium.
I know five (Taiwanese) fishing ports better than any others. The first of these is the big port north of Taichung City 台中市, which is probably the least interesting of the five. The Taichung Port is mostly restaurants, and it's hard to visit that place and get a good idea of what the local fishermen really do, or what they really catch.
I also know Nan Liao 南寮 in Hsinchu 新竹 County. When I lived in Hsinchu I visited this place often, and this was the beginning of my interest in fishing ports. The port in Nan Liao is much smaller than the one in Taichung, and one can get a better idea of what fishermen in Taiwan really do there. Nan Liao is also a nice place to have lunch. They have a lot of seafood restaurants on the second floor of the building outside the port.
|This was taken as the boats were just coming in. An hour later, this area was FULL of fish!|
Two other ports I know are in Taitung 台東. I visit the port in Cheng Gong 成功, which is the largest port in Taitung County, quite often. Around 2 PM every day the boats come in, and watching them unload is a truly amazing experience. Several tons of hammerhead shark, pilot fish, and whatever else are thrown onto the dock each day, and these fish are quickly buried in ice and sent on to other destinations. My only complaint about Cheng Gong Port is that there isn't really anywhere nice to eat there. They have a few struggling restaurants next to the port, but nothing to write home about. The only good seafood restaurant I know of is far removed from the port, about fifteen minutes from the boats by foot, and lacking in any scenery.
I also like to visit the port in Shiang Wu 尚武, the southernmost port in Taitung County. It is a tiny place, and the catch there is always small, but walking around that port on a cool day is very relaxing. That port is very out-of-the-way, and they don't see many foreigners there.
Besides the above two ports in Taitung County, I often visit the Shr Ti Ping Port 石提坪漁港 in Hualien 花蓮. They have a great seafood restaurant just up from the port, and whale watching tours also embark from that area. Shr Ti Ping isn't a big port, but it seems more tourist friendly than other places.
Anyone who knows Mandarin and wishes to know more about the Taiwanese fishing industry is encouraged to seek out a copy of the DVD set "New Perspective on Fishing Joy" (漁樂新視界) at the office of any larger port. I got my copy in Cheng Gong for 1 NT - and it is a TEN DVD set! I've been watching it for about a week now, and I've learned a lot.
Of course if you don't speak Mandarin, nothing beats visiting these ports. A lot of the guys who fish for a living are great guys, and many of them would be happy to know you.
|Cheng Gong Port from the second floor of the port offices. I love that old "Wei Shr Bi" 維士比 advertisement!|
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