KOTA KINABALU, Aug 23 (Bernama) — Sabah Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Junz Wong has urged the maritime authorities to mobilise and deploy their assets in waters often encroached by foreign fishing boats to prevent depletion of the state’s marine resources.
Junz said the presence of Vietnamese fishing boats in Sabah waters lately, especially in Kuala Penyu, was distressing to the local fishermen.
“The encroachment activities will not only result in decrease in catches but natural resources such as coral reefs will also be destroyed,” he said in a statement today.
He said the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency had seized five Vietnamese fishing boats in Sabah waters this year.
“We will dispose of the boats which have been seized and forfeited by sinking and turning them as artificial reefs as breeding grounds for fish. We also want to give a clear warning to those who go against the law,” he said.
Meanwhile he called on the related agencies to increase enforcement on fishing boats which were using trawl nets but had been licensed to use drift nets.
He said of the 51 deep sea vessels operating legally in Sabah, only 11 were licensed for trawl net fishing, seven for seine net fishing and 33 for drift netting.
All 51 vessels are being operated by 11 local companies which are only allowed to fish in two zones namely the west coast zone and Tawau zone at over 30 nautical miles away from the beach