• Corporation
  • Project Period
  • Project Type
  • Approved Budget
  • Southern District Dragon Boat Racing Committee
  • September 2021 - November 2023
  • 5th Round Approved Project
  • $6,000,000
Objective Aberdeen is a fishing port in the city. It has a unique urban landscape with a city centre full of high-rise buildings and a harbour full of boats. While Aberdeen has undergone different stages of urbanization in the past half century, the coastal area still retains its fishing village ambiance, creating a strong contrast between the old and the new. Surrounded on three sides by tall buildings in Aberdeen downtown, Tin Wan, Ap Lei Chau, and the South Horizons, the harbour has become a shared sea space for the local residents, and its unique charm has attracted tourists from outside the district and abroad.

A Tale of Aberdeen Fishing Port is a project aiming to feature this special urban space, starting from the Aberdeen waterfront and connecting to the opposite shore of Ap Lei Chau only one kilometre away. A miniature temporary Fishermen’s Culture Museum located on the Aberdeen promenade is used to showcase the history and transformation of the Aberdeen fishing port by means of filming techniques. At the endpoint on Ap Lei Chau promenade where there’s a place called the Dragon Habitat (Lung Tau), improvement works are conducted using local construction techniques and community art to create a unique shared space preserving the cultural heritage of the fishing community. Various public engagement activities are held here. The entire project will enhance the community’s uniqueness and assets, and at the same time add to its sustainability.

1. Fishermen Culture Museum
This museum is dedicated to showcasing the traditions and way of life of the fishing community in Aberdeen, the operation of different kinds of fishing boats, and the evolution of Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market, and presents them through multiple platforms such as virtual museum, miniature physical museum, and QR code installations along the coastlines.

The Fishermen’s Culture Museum was officially launched online in mid-January 2023. It’s a digital platform that presents the unique community of Aberdeen, once an important fishing port, as it underwent the transformation of the fishing industry and the urbanization process. Content includes fishermen’s past way of life, operation of fishing boats, and the strengths of the Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market, The aim is to preserve the precious cultural heritage in the face of urbanization and modernization.

The content is based on first-hand information, truly reflecting the daily life of fishermen and the evolution of Aberdeen as a fishing community. In addition to 4 types of fishing boats (pair-trawler, gill net boat, fish-drying boat, and fish-collecting boat), the typhoon shelter and Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market are also filmed and presented via videos, photos, and 360-degree shots. The oral history section includes interviews with 10 individuals, to reflect the changes in the Aberdeen community through different topics such as fishermen’s marriage customs, banquet culture, tea culture, and their religious beliefs as narrated by the chairman of Tam Kung Temple, who also talks about the interesting Tam Kung Festival rituals.

Fisherman Culture Museum: https://fishermen-museum.com/

To coincide with the opening of the virtual museum, the team set up a miniature physical museum at the Aberdeen waterfront and organized various culture guided tours. Visitors can experience being boat people by wearing a traditional fisherman’s hat and taking photos at the waterfront, as well as enjoy the scenic views of the typhoon shelters in Aberdeen. Visitors will also receive postcards featuring olden day fishing port scenes and art works of Lung Tau.

This physical museum also serves as the meeting point for various public engagement activities. To increase the interest and engagement of visitors, the museum has launched a series of themed exhibitions – the first one is themed on Jumbo Floating Restaurant, with limited edition postcards, old menus, and newspaper feature from the restaurant’s opening on display. The second exhibition is themed on fishermen dragon boats, in celebration of the Dragon Boat festivities in Aberdeen. 

The design work for the physical museum began in October 2022 and was completed by early January 2023. A media preview was held on January 10, and the opening ceremony was held on January 17. The physical museum last for six months, until July 16, 2023. Since its opening, the miniature museum has become a new landmark on the Aberdeen waterfront, attracting travel groups, community organizations, and families with children. University students have also visited the museum for research purpose. Most importantly, it has attracted former senior residents of the area, some of whom have since moved away but made a special trip to visit and reminisce with museum staff. It has become a community gathering point. Since its opening, the miniature museum has also been visited and featured by various television stations


2. Improvement Works of Lung Tau at Ap Lei Chau

Ap Lei Chau Lung Tau, a unique landmark with the largest collection of traditional wooden dragon boats, has been transformed into a distinctive public space. Various events and activities such as guided tours, carnivals, and workshops are held here to show the evolution and urbanization of the Aberdeen fishing port, helping to promote the unique cultural heritage of the area.

The improvement works project was completed in September 2022. The new design has a youthful and vibrant atmosphere, with bright colours and dragon patterns in various art styles, while reflecting the connection of fishermen and dragon boats, creating a hub for community engagement and cultural activities. A function room has also been set up inside the area of Lung Tau. It is air-conditioned, decorated with educational display panels and equipped with a television for playing videos during public engagement activities.


3. Communal Art Programme

A group of individuals interested in the local culture was led by a mentor through a series of workshops to explore Aberdeen’s fishing heritage and traditional dragon boat culture. Participants then expressed their understanding through drawing, photography or their chosen form of art. Their artworks are showcased in Lung Tau as well as online platforms.

(i) Artwork installation

20 artworks were received from the community art participants, including paintings, animations, and photographs. 12 pieces were selected for demonstration in Lung Tau in the form of A0-sized exhibits. The first batch of works were displayed from December 2022 and the rest from June 2023.

(ii) Participants sharing videos

The workshop recorded the creative ideas and perspectives of each participant on the Aberdeen community throughout the process. The footage was edited into a comprehensive video highlighting the entire programme and 8 individual short films, which were uploaded to YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/@SouthernDB/videos.  QR codes of the video links are displayed beneath each artwork for visitors to scan and view on the spot.

(iii) 3D drawings production

A number of large-scale 3D drawings are displayed in the indoor and outdoor spaces at Lung Tau. The drawings include themes related to fishermen, dragon boats and local characteristics, with a storytelling design that attracts visitors to take photos and share on social media.


4. Public Engagement Activities

This project offers a series of public engagement activities. Prior to the events, a recruitment for cultural tour guides was launched in November 2022, attracting over 20 applicants, followed by 2 training sessions in November 2022 and January 2023. Trained tour guides are responsible not only for various guided tours, they also work as attendants at the Fishermen’s Culture Museum and helpers at the Community Carnival and various public events, forming a working team for the project. Public engagement activities commenced alongside the opening of the Fishermen’s Culture Museum, and the first event held was Fishing Port City cultural tour.


Fishing Port City cultural tour

The first guided tour was held on February 5, and a total of 30 tours were conducted over six months, with the final tour on July 16. Participants were recruited through the official Facebook page, with 15 to 25 participants per tour. The response was enthusiastic and requests for additional tours were received at times.

This guided tour starts at the Aberdeen waterfront. Tour content includes these topics: changes in the fishermen community, wholesale fish market, dawn market, floating restaurants, and the former shipyard that is now Aberdeen Centre Housing Estate. The tour reflects Aberdeen’s past as the leading of the four major fishing villages and its development into a unique fishing port within a city. Participants then take a ferry to Ap Lei Chau, pass by the modern MTR station, and visit Lung Tau to learn about fishermen’s culture and dragon boats. The guided tour lasts for about 1.5 to 2 hours and concludes with a video screening in the event room.


Wholesale Fish Market tour

The Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market supplies over 70% of seafood to Hong Kong. It is a source of pride for the fishermen in Aberdeen and a unique space in the local community. However, as the market is only for wholesale business, outsiders are prohibited from entering, adding to the market’s mysterious allure. Led by the President of the Aberdeen Fishery & Seafood Merchants Association, Mr. Chan Chi-ho, the Fish Market guided tour was the most popular among the many activities, with a total of 8 tours held from March 11 to May 11. Visitors were amazed by the scale of the fish market, and many suggested that it should be promoted and even turned into a unique landmark similar to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan.


Water Carnival

The water carnival event is dragon boat rowing and harbour touring activity. Participants learn how to paddle a dragon boat while enjoying the scenery of the fishing port. Coaches who are fishermen themselves explain the layout of the typhoon shelter and tell interesting stories about fishermen’s lives. The first tour was held on April 15, and a total of 12 tours were held, with the last one on June 24. Due to the limited number of seats in the dragon boat, each tour was limited to a maximum of 16 participants.


Community Carnival

The community carnival held on April 22-23 was the highlight of public engagement activities, offering 18 tours including newly added family tours and Fishing Port and Fish Market Highlight Tours, attracting over 500 participants. At Lung Tau, 3 workshop stations were set up and open for public participation: dragon boat paper craft, fishing net knot weaving, and personalized phone sticker making. The event attracted visitors from both inside and outside the district, including school groups.


Fishermen Cuisine workshop

Fishermen’s Cuisine workshop features chefs from fisherman families who cook traditional food with ingredients commonly used by fishermen. Mr. Chan Chi-ho, known as a seafood expert, provides live commentary during the workshop. The first event was held on May 21, with only 12 participants allowed per session, each paying HKD 200 to cover the cost of a gift pack with ingredients to take home and try cooking on their own. Participants were all very happy. A total of 3 Fishermen’s Cuisine workshops were held, with one each in May, June, and July.


Additional Guided Tour Activity – Fishing Port and Fish Market Highlight Tours

In response to popular demand, we have organized 16 additional guided tours from October to November this year – the Fishing Port and Fish Market Highlight Tours, which allow participants to visit the Aberdeen fishing port and Fish Market in one go. This tour starts at Lung Tau and concludes at the Fish Market.  Shortly after the enrolment announcement was posted on our official Facebook page, all tours were fully booked, showing the strong interest of the public in Aberdeen fishing port.

To complement the additional guided tour, enhancements were made at the starting point of the tour, Long Tau. Multiple display panels were added to the surrounding fence to show the Fishermen’s Culture Museum centents. QR codes linking to the museum’s website were printed on the boards, creating a super-mini version of the Fishermen’s Culture Museum. Additionally, photos of fishing boats and the process of making wooden dragon boats are displayed outside the fence, providing valuable insights to visitors.