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Mackerel's Hometown Nan-Fang-Ao

Nan-Fang-Ao Introduction

    Nan-Fang-Ao is situated within the Su-Ao borders in the northeastern part of Taiwan. It is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean in the East with a total population of over 9,000. 80% of the population works in the fishery sector. Kuroshio Current passes through the seawaters of eastern coast of Taiwan where a great abundance of pelagic fishes are found. Among which, the Mackerel is produced in all seasons of the year. The only large encircling net (purse seine) for Mackerel was produced in 1973 in Nan-Fang-Ao, which brought about years of prosperity.

     Nan-Fang-Ao Port is situated inside the Su-Ao Bay southeast of Su-Ao Township. It used to be the most densely populated area in the country apparently due to an abundance of fishes. The prosperous sight of the port serves as an important base for Taiwan coast, and deep-sea vessels. It is one of the three major fishery areas in Taiwan. There are three fish markets that vary in function and feature. Nan-Fang-Ao Port is surrounded by mountains on three sides, and the west is in close vicinity to Su-Ao Port. There are versatile types of fish shoals particularly the Mackerel, thus, it is also known as ˇ§Mackerel's Hometownˇ¨.


    Nan-Fang-Ao was originally a fishing village occupied by the Ping-Pu Tribe after being subject to suppression by the Han Chinese. During the Japanese colonial period, Nan-Fang-Ao Fishing Port opened and attracted fishermen from elsewhere to engage in fishing and settle down there. A fish village for immigrants was formed as a result. Residents of Nan-Fang-Ao came from all over. Customs and cultures were also brought in by different ethnic groups that arrived in different time periods. Special customary practices and cultures were subsequently developed.


   Nan-Fang-Ao Fishing Port is situated southeast of Su-Ao Township. It is an important base for inshore and deep-sea fishing. It is also considered one of the three major Fishing Ports in Taiwan connected to the island across by a tombolo to form a land-tied island. A natural pier is thus created. It is surrounded by mountains on three sides, and the sea on one side with unique sceneries.

Nan-Fang-Ao Harbors

    The fishing port is situated south of Su-Ao International Port. It is an important base for inshore sea and deep-sea vessels. It accommodates over 1,000 fishing vessels and is one of the three major fishing ports in the country.

First Fishing Port

    Constructed during the Japanese colonial period, it is the earliest fishing port of Nan-Fang-Ao and is otherwise known as ˇ§Nan-Fang-Ao Fishing Port. At the bottom tip of the fishing port, it faces Nan-Tien Matzu Temple worshipped by fishermen of Nan-Fang-Ao. The roads surrounding First Fish Port are the heart of Nan-Fang-Ao. Along Yu Gang Road, and Hai-Hsien Road on the left side of Nan-Tien Temple., seafood restaurants, and local delicacy stores are seen everywhere. Tourists that wish to taste ˇ§fresh seafoodˇ¨ or purchase various processed sea foods gather there. First Fish Market is located at the end of Yu Gang Road downstairs of Fishing Association. Large marlin and shark catches are sold at auction by Fishing Association. Bidders are mostly fish vendors or processing factory representatives. The general public rarely gets the opportunity to purchase fish there. However, for those who wish to see the bloody scene of fish being cut up with a sharp knife, this place is quite a site to see. It is definitely worthwhile.

Second Fishing Port

    Constructed in 1955, it mainly functioned to alleviate the problem of inadequate spaces at First Fishing Port that resulted to overcrowding. First Fishing Port and Second Fishing Port are similar to each other as they both carry out operations once a day before everyone returns to his small or medium sized fishing vessel to sell fish. Second Fishing Port is also known as ˇ§Nei-Pi Fishing Port.ˇ¨ It measures 28,800 square meters, the smallest of the three fishing ports. On Nei-Pi Road, Second Fish Market adjacent to Taiwan Bus Corp. Station is the most bustling market of all. Small dragging net vessels enter the port between 3:00pm-5:00pm. With fish vendors and tourists from all over that wish to buy fresh seafood, the market is a place for bargain. Here, The catch amounts to a variety of freshly caught fishes. A variety of seasonal fishes, shrimps, and crabs are also available. At times, tourists feel dazzled and find it difficult to decide what to buy!

Third Fishing Port

    Constructed in 1965, it was originally planned as a small-scale port. However, after Su-Ao Port was completed in 1983, it became a port for large-size encircling net (purse seine) fishing vessel anchorage. Large-size encircling net (purse seine) vessels often take up to 1 month on the sea before returning. Deep-sea voyages take even longer. Contrary to the two fishing ports mentioned above, Third Fish Market of Third Fishing Port seems rather desolated. This is because large-size encircling net (purse seine) catches are relatively larger in quantity. Frozen foods processing companies that make purchases are mostly regular clients.

Architecture of Nan-Fang-Ao

Nan-Tien Temple


    During earlier periods before economic developments in Taiwan took place, Nan-Fang-Ao greatly depended on the sea for a living. It in turn attracted a large number of settlers. As fishing techniques were undeveloped at the time, our ancestors had to fight against nature. Religious beliefs such as Goddess Matzu became a firm spiritual faith for these people.
   Nan-Tien Temple of Nan-Fang-Ao was constructed facing the inner port of Nan-Fang-Ao. The Matzu image enshrined inside the temple guards fishing vessels day in and day out thorough out the year. Nan-Tien Temple is without a doubt the heart of Nan-Fang-Ao. Most local delicacy stores and vendor stores were built around it.
   Nan-Tien Temple of Nan-Fang-Ao is best known for its Gold Matzu Statue. It is made of 200-kg pure gold and is considered one of the most important transformations toward modernization. The three floors inside Nan-Tien Temple each contains a Matzu statue made of different materials. On the first floor, there is a wooden Matzu, on the second floor there is a jade Matzu, and on the third floor, there is the famous Gold Matzu that attracts believers from all over to worship her. Nan-Fang-Ao therefore became so well-known that Tourists simply flocked in. Changes therefore took place in this supposedly quiet and peaceful fishing village life.

Nan-Fang-Ao Bridge

     Nan-Fang-Ao Bridge was inaugurated in June, 1998. The bridge connects Su-Ao Port and Nan-Fang-Ao. The single-arch suspension bridge has special fish, shrimp and crab designs on the bridge column that symbolize the ocean. There is also a landscape platform for tourists to overlook vessels in and out of the fishing port. The ancient map of Su-Ao also has a bronze casting model that keeps records of this ancient fishing port. 

     The ingenious Nan-Fang-Ao Bridge architecture is the one and only single-arch bridge in the country. It overlooks the entire Nan-Fang-Ao area where tourism and fishery developments are promoted.



Mackerel Festival

     Nan-Fang-Ao is the largest fishing port by the eastern coast. It is not within confines of traditional fishing industries. In recent years, tourism has become a major direction for development. The resourceful aquatic animals and fishing village features are focuses of tourism. In 1997, the first Mackerel Festival was held to promote special Nan-Fang-Ao features, and customary practices. Nan-Fang-Ao Mackerel Festival attracts approximately 100,000 tourists annually as Nan-Fang-Ao is the largest fishing port in the eastern coast of Taiwan. It is thus reputed as Mackerel's Hometown.
    Nan-Fang-Ao captures about 12tons of Mackerels every year. It is not only the largest yield of fishery locally; it is also the number 1 Mackerel production place in Taiwan. The Mackerel is frequently made into canned fish, and dried fish. Sometimes, it is exported as fish bait. On Mackerel Festival, Mackerel is used as an ingredient. Gourmet dishes such as fried, steamed or sashimi Mackerel are all delicious. The public is invited to taste them on-site.

     Nan-Fan-Ao also has quite a number of unique fishing village customs. In the past, whenever a new boat took her maiden voyage, the boat owner would sacrifice three animals to the Gods and pray for peace and prosperity. He would also throw buns, glutinous rice cakes, and candy out of the boat for the masses to consume. It is believed that the more people there were, the more fruitful it would be in the future. Some buns even contained coins inside. Those who received buns with coins inside would have years of good luck. This bustling activity therefore became the spotlight of Mackerel Festival.
     In addition, activities such as tumbling oil barrels, hooking baits, and mending torn nets etc. are held. Together with fishing port oriented historical culture, fish model, and coral boutique item display, it is a day of fun and humanity. Tourists often crowd here to light up this little township.