THE Penang Fisheries Department has welcomed 130 coastal fishermen on board for its voluntary body set up to protect coastal waters from intrusion.
Its director Abdullah Md Dan said the latest inclusion would certainly beef up the body known as Sukarelawan Perikanan or Super.
Currently, it has a total of 303 members.
“Super has been the eyes and ears of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency in combating illegal activities in Malaysian waters.
“The volunteers have been effective in providing information to the authorities on intrusion activities as well as river and sea pollution.
“They are also actively involved in river rehabilitation activities and search and rescue operations with other agencies,” he said.
Abdullah was speaking to reporters after presenting certificates to the 130 new Super volunteers at the state Fisheries Department in Gelugor yester-day.
Abdullah said Penang was the first state to set up the voluntary body before several other states followed suit.
He added that the body operate effectively from its three bases.
The bases are in Sungai Kerian, Kuala Juru and Sungai Batu.
“Previously, there were always complaints of encroachment activities, especially by trawlers, into fishing zones meant for inshore fishermen.
“The zones were established for an even distribution of fishing resources among fishermen,” said Abdullah.
“Super members can tip off the authorities if encroachment occurs,” he said.
He said the voluntary members were expected to be given a bigger role to play when Super is launched in Terengganu next month.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek is expected to make the announcement then.
Abdullah said he was told that for a start, the ministry had targeted to increase the membership by 1,000 yearly.
Also present was Teluk Bahang assemblyman Shah Headan Ayoob Hussain Shah.