Sabah Fisheries Dept now empowered to issue deep-sea fishing licence, says Kiandee

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Fisheries Department has been given the authority to issue deep-sea fishing licences, says Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee.

He said this was based on a decision during the Malaysia 1963 (MA63) Special Council meeting on Oct 18.

It was agreed then that the directors of the Sabah and Sarawak Fisheries Department have been empowered to issue deep-sea permits and licences for fishing vessels in Zone C2, said Kiandee.

Previously, the vessel and deep-sea fishing paraphernalia licenses in Sabah were done through the Fisheries director-general.

On this, Kiandee added that the distribution of power will start with receiving applications, auditing, review and the approval of applications.

He said that this will go on until the issuance of permits and licenses for vessels and fishing paraphernalia for deep-sea activities in Zon C2, based on set conditions.

Kiandee said that this means Sabah can decide how many licences to be issued and the amount of fish (raked in) based on the source capacity in its waters.

“The decision is expected to benefit both federal and state governments in terms of managing fisheries resources, coastal security and international relations," said Kiandee.

“I hope this empowerment will boost the deep-sea fishing industry. For example, I recently launched the tuna industry strategic development plan in Labuan covering the South China Sea, Sulu Sea and Sulawesi Sea," he added.

Kiandee said that these seas have a huge potential in the tuna industry and added that he hopes that the resource can be exploited.

He said this when handing over the letter to empower the department to Sabah Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan on Saturday (Dec 4).

Kiandee added that in general, the Sabah fisheries industry has huge potential for development as it currently has 30,486 fishermen with 206,703 metric tonnes of fish landed annually with a value of over RM1.2bil.

Meanwhile, the handing over of the letter of empowerment was done on the sidelines of the MA63 Special Council briefing session for the state assembly, where Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor was present as a witness.

Also present were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

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