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Apple News Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Wednesday, Feb 27, 2019
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Elders witness China’s fishing industry change over past 70 years

(People's Daily Online)    16:47, February 27, 2019

Fishing boats lay at anchor in the harbour. (Photo/Chinanews)

The life of Huang Zhaohe, born in 1949, the year when the People’s Republic of Chi-na was founded, is a mirror of the development of the country's fishing industry over the past 70 years.

Huang, who lives in Xinying township, Lingao county of southern China’s Hainan province, is now 70 years old. He started his career in fishing at the age of 12, when his parents, who were also in this line of work, died at sea during a typhoon.

Ever since, his 92-year-old grandmother took care of him. As a result, he had no choice but to become a cook on board a boat to make a living.

Huang remembered that fishermen were living in harsh conditions back then, as the 40-ton wooden sailboats were powered using manual labor, and there was no way to forecast the weather. All they could rely on was their experience and intuition.

Huang Zhaohe lives in Xinying township, southern China’s Hainan province. (Photo/Chinanews)

At the age of 15, he finally became a fisherman and went to work in the South China Sea.

Though they often met storms at sea, his generation of fishermen held onto their en-thusiasm for a better life.

According to Huang, reform and opening up marked an end to the old wooden sail-boats, and he was able to build a small ship of his own. Due to his wisdom, patience, and hard work, Huang finally improved his livelihood.

He said that he was just a cook on the wooden deck five decades ago, but now his three sons all have steel fishing vessels.

The fishermen used to be dependent on weather and luck, but now they have a variety of devices to forecast conditions. It was previously impossible for them to make con-tact with anyone on land when they went out to sea, but now they have advanced communication technologies. Additionally, the worn ports have been developed into modern facilities with amenities such as refrigeration houses, ice plants and gas sta-tions.

Fishermen in Xinying township, southern Chinas Hainan province. (Photo/Chinanews)

Now it’s safer for fishermen to go to work, and their livelihood has also been im-proved, stated Huang.

Another 70-year-old senior from Xinying, Wang Qiongmei, also witnessed the devel-opment of China’s fishing industry.

When she was young, the men would go out fishing, while the women picked shell-fish and repaired fishnets.

Because there weren’t many recreational activities back then, to sing “Lilimei”, a folk song favorite among the fish wives, was the only source of entertainment, Wang ex-plained.

In the 1980s, Wang’s life was getting better and better. Her family replaced their small fishing boats with a bigger one, and their fish often sold out.

“Everyone, men and women, loved singing Lilimei at that time,” said Wang, adding that she would hear the song every night.

Now Wang and her family live in a two-story building constructed in 1994. Accord-ing to her, it was a time that witnessed an improved livelihood for those in the indus-try, and every family was building new houses.

Now Wang’s family is not directly involved in fishing, but she still cares about the fishing industry in her hometown, and always talks about relevant issues with other villagers.

Seeing the vast changes that have taken place, she noted that the fishermen would write their new life into the song Lilimei to celebrate their current happiness, and their readiness to embrace a brighter future. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Hongyu)

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