The Super squad, the first in the country, will work hand in hand with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) by being the eyes and ears of the agency.
Teluk Bahang assemblyman Datuk Shah Headan Ayoob Hussain Shah (pic) said about 700 coastal fishermen had volunteered to join Super but only 100 would be trained initially.
“The pioneer group will start training next month and Super’s task is primarily to ensure that trawlers do not trespass and fish in Zone A coastal waters.
“This move will help protect the welfare of inshore fishermen as fishermen in bigger boats have been depleting the fishing resources of coastal waters.”
According to Shah Headan, a three-member squad would patrol the coast once they had been trained.
He said training would include the physical and mental aspects of patrol duties as well as related regulations.
“MMEA does not have sufficient resources to monitor the coast and the Super squad will assist.
“The trained volunteers need to safeguard the fishing ground from trespassers and must not depend entirely on MMEA,” Shah Headan told a press conference in Batu Maung yesterday.
“While on patrol duties however, the three Super volunteers will be accompanied by an officer each from the Fisheries Department, MMEA officer, Marine Operation Force and a fisherman appointed by the Fisheries Department to act as captain,” he said.
The super squad idea to protect Zone A from being intruded by trespassers from Zone B and C, he said, was mooted by Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“We are applying from the ministry for allowances to be paid to the Super volunteers and we are hoping for the best,” he said.
On whether the voluntary group needed to be registered, Shah Headan said:
“Super voluntary squad is under the Penang Fisheries Association that is registered with the ministry, therefore there is no need to register it with the Registry of Societies.
On the fishing zones, Zone A is meant only for inshore fishermen, which allows them to fish from one to eight nautical miles from shore.
Zone B allows only for vessels weighing 40 GRT (gross register tonnage) and below to operate between eight and 15 nautical miles from shore.
Zone C is 15 nautical miles from shore and ends at the borders of international waters.