Using jetties to fish for tourists


PENANG: The seven-clan jetties here will be transformed into a tourist enclave complete with boat rowing facilities, floating seafood restaurant and activities such as fishing excursions.

Also in the pipeline at the jetties, which are more than a century old, are cruise expeditions and sampan rowing courses.

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The project is the brainchild of Chinese medicine practitioner Chew Hock Eam, who said he had roped in about 50 residents from the seven jetties – Ong, Chew, Lim, Lee, Tan, Yeoh and Chap Seh Keo – to draw up a comprehensive plan to woo tourists.

“We will chip in some money for the project and hopefully the state will also give us some funding to get the tourism project going,” he said.

He said tourists who visited the jetties now could only walk around the neighbourhood to enjoy the sea breeze and admire the sea view.

“We want more than that for the tourists. We want them to know about the history of the place and participate in activities,” said Chew, who is also a jetty resident.

The 55-year-old said the project would be similar to waterfront tourism destination such as Mae-Nam River in Bangkok.

“We have talked to the state government about our plans, and Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, state Tourism Development and Environment Committee chairman Teng Chang Yeow and Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Lee Hack Teik are supportive,” he said.

Chew said if everything worked out well, they would be able to introduce the cruise excursions by December to coincide with the opening of an exhibition hall featuring traditional fishing gear and information about the jetties.

He said tourists would be taken on boats to the various jetties and given an insight of their respective history.

He said that the sea between Chew jetty and Tan jetty would be set aside for fishing, and crab and prawn harvesting.

Chew said that the jetty residents would also be encouraged to set up small counters at their waterfront homes to sell local products, souvenirs and decorative items.