Fishermen reluctant to go out to sea, but supply assured

  • Metro News
  • Friday, 27 Mar 2020

Fishermen returning with their catch at the Pendas Laut jetty in Johor. Many are cutting down the hours spent at sea due to fear of Covid-19. — Filepic

JOHOR BARU: The National Fishermen’s Association (PNK) has plenty of frozen fish in store in case the current supply of seafood runs out due to the extension of the movement control order (MCO).

The Southern Johor Fishermen Association chairman Azli Aziz said the demand for seafood has spiked since the MCO was implemented on March 18.

“People have more time at home so food consumption has increased. We do not have a problem with our sales and fishing activities but we are worried that our supply won’t be enough to last throughout the MCO period, ” he said when contacted.

He added fishermen too fear becoming infected by the Covid-19 virus and prefer to stay home.

“Although the government has given the green light for us to continue our activities, we have cut down the time spent at sea. Normally we would go around four to five hours per day, but now most of us just go for two hours and return home, ” he said.

Azli however explained that there should be no worry about running out of seafood thanks to ample supply of Q’Fish, a brand introduced by the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) that offers frozen fresh fish products.

“PNK has a huge stock of frozen fresh fish so there will not be any shortage of seafood supply, ” he added.

Meanwhile, Pengerang Fishermen Association chairman Abu Bakar Mohamad said that most of the fishermen in the area were afraid of leaving their homes for an extended period, even to go out fishing.

“We have permission from the government to go out but I think the fear is stronger than the will to go out into the sea.

“So we decided to follow the MCO and only go out once in a while, ” he said, adding that the supply of seafood in Pengerang was good due to continuous supply from Endau and Mersing wholesalers.

The situation in Muar, however, was a bit different as the fishermen were willing to go out but do not have a place to sell their haul.

Muar Fishermen Association chairman Kamaruddin Arshad said all of the wet markets in the area have closed shop until April 14.

“We have customers, we have a supply of seafood, we just do not have a proper place to sell it as markets have closed down due to fear of Covid 19.

“Our middleman are afraid of operating and meeting with customers so they decided to close shop, leaving us stranded, ” he said, adding that there was ample supply of tenggiri, bawal and parang in Muar.

Meanwhile, Johor Maritime director First Admiral (Maritime) Aminuddin Abdul Rashid in a statement said fishermen were advised to follow all safety and health measures to stop the Covid-19 outbreak.

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