KUCHING: Fishermen in Santubong near here are facing difficulties making ends meet nowadays as prices of goods are ever increasing while facing competition from other fishermen.
Tuah Derus, 70, who has been a fisherman for the past 40 years, said the prices of goods and fuel were the biggest costs he had to bear.
He told The Star that the high prices of goods made it difficult to bear the cost of equipment and boat repairs.
“The RM200 monthly Fishermen Living Allowance from the Federal Government has more or less eased some of our burdens. However, I have to be honest — it is not enough.”
Tuah explained that with his 40hp outboard engine, one fishing trip, usually lasting a day or two, would consume about 20 litres of petrol.
On top of that, he said, repairs on the engine, boat and fishing nets would incur additional cost.
“However, I am thankful that the Government is doing its best to help us,” said Tuah.
He revealed that he earns about RM1,000 monthly selling his catch, consisting of mostly prawns, to restaurants and to consumers directly.
“Sometimes I buy some from other fishermen to be sold,” said Tuah, explaining that 1kg of prawn is about RM19.
Fellow fisherman, Madian Borhan, 45, from Kampung Salak said the price of fuel is around RM1.50 per litre, and the cost he had to bear depended on how far or how many times he went out to sea.
“Sometimes we cannot go out to sea, like for example during the recent Sonamu storm. Even now we have to watch out because of the ongoing landas (monsoon) season,” he said.
Earning between RM600 and RM800 a month, Madian, who has been fishing for 15 years, said petrol for his outboard engine was the bulk of the cost he had to bear.
“Although we are using subsidised petrol and the Government gives us this living allowance, honestly I say it is still not enough. We are facing stiff competition from big fishing vessels and (big scale) fishermen.
“On top of that we have to bear with the increasing prices of (general) goods and daily essentials,” he said.