Hung Hoc fishing gear making village in Quang Yen town, Quang Ninh province has a history of 400 years old.
If you visit Hung Hoc in July, you’ll see bamboo boats and fishing gear drying in the sun everywhere. The upside down bamboo boats reveal hulls coated with shiny black tar and sunlight glints off the bamboo laths of the fishing baskets.
For hundreds of years Hung Hoc village has been famous for durable products made of bamboo and wood taken from the old forest surrounding Vang Danh, Uong Bi city, and Hoanh Bo, now in Ha Long.
Dang Thi Tham’s family for three generations has been engaged in making fishing gear in Nam Hoa ward.
She told us that making bamboo boats is the most difficult task and the final quality depends largely on the weather.
“Making a fishing boat involves many steps - selecting the bamboo, whittling the laths, weaving the laths into boat rims and frames, coating the bamboo with tar, and drying the boat. In the past, farmers used small bamboo boats to harvest their rice, but today boát are sold only to fishermen. Small bamboo boats are most in demand at year end when the bamboo trees mature,” said Tham.
|Visitors to Hung Hoc are witnessing how fishing gears are made at the traditional craft village.
With nearly 30 years’ experience, Vu Van Hung said it doesn’t take much time or materials to make a fishing implement, so the price is low but he and his wife are determined to preserve the profession by using technology to increase the durability of their products.
“Many locals used to be involved in the craft. Young villagers now prefer to work for companies. We preserve the craft because it is the family’s trade. But to ensure some income, I make bamboo boats and fishing gear while my wife works for a company,” said Hung.
Making fishing gear has provided a livelihood along the Bach Dang River and in Quang Ninh coastal areas for hundreds of years, but the craft is at risk of disappearing.
The number of people engaged in the trade has dramatically decreased. In 2011 there were 245 households. Now there are only 65. Like many other traditional craft villages, Hung Hoc’s products are being outsold by factory-made products.
To chart a new direction, some locals are creating souvenir products with artistic designs characteristic of the village.
Le Minh Cuong, Deputy Head of Quang Yen town's Culture and Information Section, said, “We have decided to turn the village’s products into tourist souvenirs. They have qualified for the local One Commune-One Product program. We have also designed a project to develop craft products until 2025 with a focus on upgrading Hung Hoc craft village and attracting more visitors and investors.”