Fishing ports used to give the general public the impression that they are places where fishermen work. With the changes in the fishery environment, people’s consumption patterns have varied, and their demand for leisure has increased. Through direct marketing in production areas, the goal of the government policy is to improve the economy of fishermen and the transportation and marketing of fishing products. Therefore, since 1991 the government has actively promoted the transformation of the fishery industry into leisure fishery. Direct fish marketing centers are one important direction. Operated by fishermen, they are expected to shape the professional fish retail market, reduce the distance between producers and consumers, provide direct marketing places for fishermen, improve fish transportation and marketing channels at places of origin, promote fish culture and fish-eating education, enhance the hygienic quality of fish, create values of leisure fishery, help fishermen employment, and improve their economic conditions. A direct fish marketing center usually contains a sales area for fresh fish, a fish processing area for processing fish products and special products from various regions, a cooked food catering area with large space and stalls or used by a seafood restaurant, and a grocery area selling local cultural and creative products, general gifts, and cold drinks.
In terms of development history, Wuqi Fishing Port is Taiwan’s first direct fish marketing center and was opened in November 1994. Fuji Fishing Port opened in June 1995, then Hsinchu Harbor in June 1996, Zhuwei Fishing Harbor in May 1997, and Bisha Fishing Port in February 1998. Until now, there are 24 direct fish marketing centers in fishing ports in Taiwan, of which nearly 80% are managed by local fishermen’s associations, such as Wushi Fishing Harbor, Bisha Fishing Port, Zhuwei Fishing Harbor, Yong-an Fishing Port, Wuqi Fishing Port, Budai Port, and Donggang Fishing Harbor. They attract more than 25,000 tourists every month to spend money, are important economic activities for local fishermen and fishermen’s associations, and are much-needed resources to improve the gap between urban and rural areas and promote local construction.
The government recently has actively guided fishermen’s associations, fish production-marketing groups, women in fishing villages, and young people engaged in breeding, in order to establish local brands, realize local production for local consumption as well as marketing promotion of aquatic products, attract consumers to consume and purchase in fishing villages, and increase the income of fishing villages and fishermen. In recent years, Taiwanese like to get close to the ocean and experience leisure fishery and fishing village lifestyle. Direct fish marketing centers, sales outlets of fishermen’s associations, Tian Mama’s restaurants, as well as outlets of production-marketing groups all over Taiwan provide fresh fish and authentic delicious cuisine and also play an important role in connecting people with fishermen, fishing ports, and fishing villages. The government’s vision of “sustainable fishery, rich fishing villages, energetic fishermen” is spurring visitors to see direct fish marketing centers in all regions and taste the diverse and fresh aquatic products of Taiwan.