KOTA KINABALU: Four Vietnamese fishermen were caught for encroaching Malaysian waters near Kinabatangan and harvesting sea cucumbers illegally on Monday (Nov 18).
This is the fifth case involving Vietnamese vessels caught by Sandakan Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Association (MMEA) to date this year, which were targeting sea cucumbers.
Sandakan Maritime Zone director Captain Zainudin Mohd Zuki said the boat was apprehended at around 4pm at 18.6 nautical miles east of Kuala Kinabatangan Besar after a chase ensued for 30 minutes.
“An inspection found that all four men are aged between 36 and 61 and do not possess valid documents. The boat, illegal fishing devices and sea cucumbers weighing 200kg have been confiscated and handed over to the investigation officer.
“The case will be investigated under the Immigration Act 1959/63 and Fisheries Act 1985, ” he said in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 19).
Harvesting sea cucumbers using illegal fishing devices could cause damage to the marine ecosystem, especially coral reefs.
Earlier this month on Nov 5, Sandakan MMEA had detained six Vietnamese crewmen for encroaching Sandakan waters.
They were found with one tonne of sea cucumbers taken illegally from Malaysian waters.
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