KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) believes they have foiled fish blasting activities with the arrest of two men in Sabah’s east coast Kunak district.
An MMEA vessel had earlier spotted a pump boat at the Tabawan Island waters, some two nautical miles from shore at about 5pm on Sunday (June 11).
Lahad Datu MMEA director Commander Nik Mohd Rizam Nik Mohd Fauzi said they were patrolling the waters under “Ops Pluto Timur” when they noticed the men behaving in a suspicious manner.
“The men, aged 22 and 38, of Bajau Laut descent (also known Palauh or as sea gypsies) did not possess any identification documents,” he said in a statement on Monday (June 12).
“Also seized were two bottles of explosives, besides the boat’s outboard engine and a compressor.
“The men are suspected of violating Section 26 of the Fisheries Act 1985, which is catching fish using explosives or poisons among others,” he added.
Nik Mohd warned the public especially those living in coastal areas in the state not to be involved in fish bombing activities.
“This is not only an offence under the country’s marine laws but also causes negative repercussions on the ocean’s ecosystem besides endangering the safety of divers as well as the offender’s own life,” he said.
He said the Lahad Datu MMEA will continue to beef up its patrols and enforcement efforts.
He urged the people, particularly the maritime community, to channel any information or reports to the Lahad Datu MMEA at its 24-hour phone line at 089-885 727 or they may contact the Malaysian Emergency Response Services (MERS) 999 number.