KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — Vietnamese-registered vessels were the largest group among those caught by the authorities for illegally fishing in Malaysian waters, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub said.
During the Question and Answer session in Parliament today, the Pulai MP said that 706 Vietnamese vessels have been caught within a 12-year period.
He was answering Kota Tinggi MP Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique who asked Salahuddin to state which nationality represented the most frequent offender.
“If we were to follow the 12-year statistics, the number we of foreign vessels we caught is 1,182 vessels.
“This shows how serious this issue of foreign vessels encroaching our waters is. Especially in the deep sea. Of the number, Vietnam leads the list with 706 vessels which we have caught within a 12-year period,” he added.
Salahuddin added that the Cabinet discussed ways to curb such violations, which he labelled as “extreme”.
He said that an inter-ministerial task force was then formed comprising the Home Ministry, Defence Ministry, Foreign Ministry as well as Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry to tackle the problem.
Salahuddin said that a special operation called ‘Operasi Naga’ was then formed, and 52 foreign vessels were caught in less than three months.