KOTA KINABALU: Four fishermen, suspected of using fish bombs, dived off their boat and swam to shore to evade capture by a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) patrol in the waters off Pulau Gaya here on Tuesday (Feb 2) evening.
Though they escaped, MMEA managed to seize their pump boat and recovered some 200kg of suspected bombed fish as well as various pieces of fish bombing equipment.
Sabah MMEA director First Admiral Datuk Mohd Rosli Abdullah said a patrol boat carrying out operations under Ops Sejahtera and Ops Naga Timur around the waters off Kota Kinabalu spotted the boat near Pulau Gaya, one of the islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.
"As soon as the suspects spotted our boat, they jumped into the sea and swam towards the shore nearby," he said on Wednesday (Feb 3).
On checking the abandoned pump boat, they found the bombed fish and equipment used for fish bombing.
First Admiral Mohd Rosli investigations were being made under Section 26 of the Fisheries Act 1985 for using explosives and other illegal methods to catch fish.
He said each person convicted for such offences can be fined from RM20,000 to RM6mil and also face a two-year jail term.
“Fish bombing activities are not only illegal under the Fisheries Act but it also causes damage or destroys marine life," he said, adding that divers were also put at risk by such activities.
"We will continue our operations to stop these activities. We will not compromise on this issue and are stepping up intelligence gathering," he said.
Members of the public aware of any such activities can call the Kota Kinabalu MMEA operation centre at 088-387 774.