Inaugural Asia Pacific Fishing Boat Show

Opening Ceremony of China's First fishing boat show
Alistair Skinner
It is said that from small acorns great oaks grow. The first Asia Pacific Fishing Boat Show held over the four days from 14th to 16th September in Xiangshan County, ZheJiang Province in China wasn’t huge but not insignificant either.

The show as organised by the China Cruise and yacht industry Association (CCYIA) a body promoting water leisure in China that has recently become ICOMIA latest member.

Fishing is known to be an extremely popular pastime in China both on inland waters but increasingly on the sea as well and it is not unknown for some keen anglers to drive the five hours and more from north of Shanghai down to this area of Zhe Jiang Province for a weekend of sea fishing and more and more of them want to be able to do so on their own boats.

The event was seen to be important enough to be supported by the attendance of local government officials and also representation from Beijing. This part of the Zhe Jiang coast is an important base for a sizeable part of China’s commercial fishing fleet and on the and the organizers had cleverly arranged for the show to coincide with the local Fishing Festival marking the end of the three months closed season and the waters amongst the island had literally hundreds of fishing boats at anchor.

Saturday night saw a parade of over a dozen brightly decorated and illuminated and the whole town packed with visitors to such an extent the whole of downtown Shipu closed off by the police and the local school grounds commandeered as a bus park.

Also interesting was the fact that the local government have already put a number of leisure marina berths in place and even gone to the extent of building a launching dock with a high capacity travel hoist already in situ making it one of a handful of facilities in China so equipped.

There is no doubt that China’s growing middle classes are showing an increasing interest in active leisure activities, several year ago golf was in the ascendancy and the number of boats in China grows almost daily with the fishing boat market almost ignored – so far!

At this time figures for sales are not yet available but interest both from the public, and the media.

The event included a forum of industry leaders and a few foreign visitors who lent their experience of the sea fishing scene in their own countries to the gathering.

A small show but in the right place on the development curve of the interest in boating with increasing anglers wanting to make the move from standing on the rocks or beach and get out where the serious fish are, staged at the right time – having the show during a fishing festival was inspired and in the right place as there are some fantastic fishing sites along this part of China’s coast.

I am sure the growth of this show will be something to behold in the future development of China’s leisure boating culture.