KUDAT: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) hasseized over 3,000kg of various endangered marine species after it intercepted two fishing boats in waters north-west of Mengayau near here on Wednesday (Sept 27).
Kudat MMEA maritime zone director Maritime Commander Maurice Grenville Abeyeratne, said that the two boats were spotted by the vessel KM Ikhlas, which carried out operations at around 12.35pm at the location based on intelligence received.
He said an inspection of the boat found, among other things, puffer fish weighing 630kg, dried giant clams (1,368kg), dried turtles (865kg), seahorse (6kg), shark fins and frozen Napoleon fish.
He said that an inspection of the second boat found dried pufferfish (375kg) and dried giant clams (100kg).
"Two Filipinos and an Indonesian, aged 37 to 52, were found to be operating the first boat, while the second boat was operated by two locals, aged 50 and 57, and a 45-year-old Filipino.
"All suspects, along with the boats and seized items, were taken to the jetty to be handed over to investigating officers of the Kudat Maritime Zone for further action. The total value of the seizure is estimated at RM1.5mil," he said in a statement on Friday (Sept 29).
Maurice said that the case was investigated under the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008, the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, the Fisheries Act 1985, the Customs Act 1967, and the Immigration Act 1959/1963 on suspicion of having dubious identification documents.
"The case is also being investigated under the Ports and Harbours Enactment 2002 and the Ports and Harbours Regulations 2006, against crew members who failed to produce any valid identification documents," he said.
He also called on the community, especially the maritime community, to help the agency by reporting any misconduct or criminal activity at sea to MMEA at 088-611858 or the 24-hour MERS 999 line. – Bernama