MIRI: Sarawak needs to set up its own state coastal water security enforcement agency to help stop illegal fishing by non-local fishing vessels.
Progressive Democratic Party president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said the state’s coastal areas were too huge and not effectively patrolled at present.
“We are losing a lot of financial resources due to illegal fishing by fishermen from outside Sarawak, ” he claimed.
“We have a coastline of about 1,000km that stretches from Kuching to Miri to Limbang. There have been too many cases of illegal fishing for many years already, ” he said in a statement.
“It is high time the state government sets up its own coastal water security enforcement agency to patrol our waters, ” he added.
Tiong, who is Bintulu MP, said Sarawak could set up its own coastal security agency if it amended the state Fisheries Ordinance (2003).
Plans are afoot to do just that. According to news reports, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg had instructed the state Attorney-General’s Chamber to study the existing laws and provide recommendations.
“We are looking into amending the laws, but it may not make it for tabling during the next State Legislative Assembly sitting in November. But we should be able to do it in the April sitting next year, ” he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency seized a fishing boat as well as RM500,000 worth of catch and arrested 10 crew for illegal fishing offshore Miri.
The boat belonged to a Sabahan who had no permit to fish here, Miri MMEA chief Captain Mohd Fauzi Othman said in a statement.
Aside from the two tonnes of fishes on board, six small boats plus their engines were also seized, he added.
“The 10 crew members seized were eight Filipinos and two Malaysians aged 18 to 75. They had no permit to fish in Sarawak waters, ” he said.
The arrested crewmen and the seized items were brought ashore to Miri.