KOTA KINABALU: Four fishermen suspected of using fish bombs off Pulau Gaya dived off their boat and swam ashore to evade capture.
Although they escaped, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) officers managed to seize their pump boat and recovered some 200kg of fish as well as fish bomb-making equipment during the incident on Tuesday evening.
Sabah MMEA director Datuk Mohd Rosli Abdullah said a patrol boat carrying out operations under Ops Sejahtera and Ops Naga Timur around waters off Kota Kinabalu spotted the boat with crewmen near Pulau Gaya, one of the islands under 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 added.
He said they were investigating the case under the Fisheries Act 1985 (Section 26) for using explosives and other illegal methods to catch fish.
He said each person convicted of such an offence could receive a fine of RM20,000 to RM6mil and a two-year jail term.
“The fish-bombing activities are not only illegal under the Fisheries Act but they also damage or destroy marine life, ” he said.