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  Straits Times Forum Online 29 Oct 05
Relax the rules. Don't deprive anglers the joys of fishing
Letter from Teh Boon Hong

It is time for anglers to seek better understanding and support from the authorities.

Most anglers in Singapore view fishing as a relaxing pastime and an occasion for the like-minded to get together and enjoy the company of family and friends.

I feel fishing is unique as it helps people to calm the nerves, build up patience and be friendlier. Personally, I feel that fishing in the sea is much more challenging than pond fishing as we need to locate the right spots, use the right tools, know the climate and tackle natural obstacles to catch the fish.

Needless to say, deep sea fishing is the best option but for most of us, the average anglers, we can't afford it.

I have seen anglers greeting one another even when they don't know each other and they render help without hesitation when the need arises. This is because we share the same passion. But I feel this culture is fading as we are not getting enough support and understanding from the authorities.

We live on an island but we do not get enough approved fishing grounds along the shoreline. This, I reckon, is due to the development of our scarce land to boost the economy.

Go along the shoreline of Singapore and you will notice many signboards stating 'No fishing' and 'Restricted area'. People who are not aware of Singapore's development may get the wrong impression that fishing is prohibited in our land.

I agree that over-fishing upsets our marine ecology but this is caused by a handful of people who uses commercial fishing nets to trap the fish rather than the traditional rod and reel. As anglers form only a minority of Singapore's population and are not well represented by any organisation, I hope to use this channel to seek better understanding and support from the authorities.

Don't forget us and deprive us the joys of fishing. If the rules on fishing are relaxed, we anglers will all say thank you very much.

Teh Boon Hong

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