Two Vietnamese nabbed in marine park for spear-fishing, harvesting sea cucumbers

MERSING: Marine police arrested two Vietnamese nationals for illegal spear-fishing and harvesting sea cucumbers at Pulau Besar here.

Marine Police (PPM) Region 2 Commander Asst Comm Paul Khiu Khon Chiang said that both suspects, aged 31 and 34 years old, were spear-fishing in a gazetted area of the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park.

"A team of patrol officers was monitoring the area when they noticed a suspicious 8.5m fibreglass boat anchored in the area.

"The duo were apprehended at about 7.30pm on Wednesday (April 10) 0.3 nautical miles from Pulau Besar," he said in a statement on Thursday (April 11).

He added that inspections conducted had found several pieces of equipment that are believed to have been used for spear-fishing and collecting sea cucumbers.

"The offence falls under Section 44 under Fisheries Act 1985 that state's that any sort of weapon that can harm marine life is prohibited inside a marine park," he added.

ACP Khiu added that the boat and the suspects were brought to the Mersing jetty and handed over to the Fisheries Department to help investigations into the case.

He also said the arrests were the result of joint operations conducted between PPM and the Johor Fisheries Department Marine Park Source Management Division.

"We will continue such joint operations in order to safeguard the marine ecosystem, especially in the waters of the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park," he said.