KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Fisheries Department will recommend a ban on the export of fresh marine products from the state if a shortage arises ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations.
The department’s director Dr Ahemad Sade said the move is to protect the interest of locals and to ensure sufficient local supply.
“We will recommend to the state government to order a temporary ban if there is a need. This will help lower the prices of fresh sea products,” he said.
The Kota Kinabalu Fishing Boat Owners Association claimed fish prices are increasing due to the drop in fish landings.
They attributed the problem to locally operated foreign fishing vessels that were allegedly using cloned permits.
The department will also suggest that all fishing vessels land their catches at the Sabah Fish Marketing jetty here and stop any dealing of high value fish at sea, which is against the Fisheries Act.
Dr Ahemad said claims that the prices of fish have increased by 50% is not true.
Based on the department’s monitoring, he said, there is enough fresh fish stock in the market and the prices are still under control.
“For example, ikan tulai (sardine) cost RM6 a kg based on our checks,” he said on Sunday.
Consumers have complained that sardines were being sold from RM8 to RM12 per kg at times in the Kota Kinabalu Fish Market.
Dr Ahemad also dismissed claims that there was a 50% drop on fish landing in west coast of Sabah.
Based on its statistics, he said, there is a slight increase in landings from 159,773 metric tonnes (valued at RM938.3mil) in 2016 to 161,424 metric tonnes(RM820mil) in 2017.
“Our fishery landings has been consistent,” he added.
On issues of local operators using foreign fishing boats with cloned fishing permits, he said that since 2015 the Government had barred foreign fishing trawlers from Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Brunei from operating in the state.