Congested Straits of Malacca affecting Melaka fishermen, says exco rep

MELAKA: Melaka faces another sort of "traffic jam" and this time not on its roads, but on one of the world's busiest shipping lanes - the Straits of Malacca.

Melaka rural development, agriculture and food security committee chairman Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh said the growing maritime traffic along the Straits has caused insufficient areas for merchant ships and oil tankers to anchor.

"The situation has resulted in local fishermen suffering damaged nets and equipment as well as depleted catches when their boats clash with these large vessels along the waterway close to our shores.

"The issue of the congested traffic in the narrow passageway has been affecting our fishermen for a long time," he said on Tuesday (Oct 3).

Dr Muhammad Akmal said a discussion was held recently with various maritime stakeholders including, among others, Port Klang Authority, Marine Department as well as with officials from the Fisheries Department and fishermen's associations to find a solution to the lack of space for ships to anchor.

"We have suggested allocating suitable areas along the waterway for the vessels to anchor without impacting the catches of local fishermen," he said.

Dr Muhammad Akmal said the meeting was also meant to advocate a move to outline maritime zones in a bid to ensure the safety of fishermen as well as driving the marine traffic to nearby ports without causing bottlenecks along the state's coastline.

He added that the presence of large vessels is causing the fishing area to be congested and limiting the current fishing sites.

"The situation is also exacerbated by the mass reclamation projects along the shorelines, which caused the fishermen to venture further out to the sea to cast their nets," he said.

Meanwhile, Tanjung Kling Jetty's fishing community chief Aziz Jaapar said the situation has impacted close to 250 fishermen from seven areas here.

He said fishermen from Kampung Hailam, Pantai Puteri, Balik Bukit, Tanjung Kling, Sungai Lereh, Klebang and Perigi here are facing loss of livelihoods as large vessels anchor close to fishing enclaves along the coastline.

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