With some that date back to more than 300 years ago, the stone fish weirs in Penghu County provide a keen insight into the lifestyle and level of sophistication of the island's earliest settlers.
Utilizing the characteristic ebb and flow of the ocean, these sea-savvy folks built circular stone walls that ensnared schools of fishes when the tide receded. Furthermore, the variations in weir size and shape reflect the early wisdom of Taiwan's seafaring ancestors, for the tidal traps took into account the location's ecological features and the habitual behavior of their choice of prey.
Out of the roughly 600 weirs that remain in the waters of Penghu today, the Twin Hearts Stone Weir nearby Cimei Island enjoys the most attention for its romantic appearance, even though its modern-looking heart-shape design was originally devised to prevent fish from escaping.
The construction of the 210-meter-long fish trap was overseen by Penghu native Yen Gong, who led a team of fishermen on bamboo rafts to haul the load of black basalt and white coral needed for the weir's completion back in 1937. Now retired from its fishing duties, the Twin Hearts Stone Weir is a potential World Heritage Site whose entwined shape has graced countless postcards and wedding portraits.
During the Penghu Stone Weir Festival, an annual event that takes place every spring, special tour groups offer in-depth visits to arc, single-pool and double-pool tidal traps, in which visitors are welcomed to try their luck inside the weir atrium - the most common catches are skipjack tuna, slender sprat, puffer fish, sea cucumber and crab.