KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — The government plans to strengthen the nation’s maritime enforcement assets in an effort to curb encroachment by foreign fishing boats which resulted in Malaysia losing up to RM5 billion in fisheries revenue every year, the Dewan Rakyat was told.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub said the ministry would submit the proposal to the Cabinet, which includes a suggestion to purchase a mother ship to facilitate enforcement operation at sea.
“Prior to this, the government has taken firm action by carrying out an operation dubbed ‘Ops Naga’ and will continue doing so with the commitment from three ministries, namely my ministry, the Home Affairs Ministry and the Defence Ministry.
“At the same time, we ask local fishermen to become the eyes and ears for the government to prevent illegal fishing vessels from entering Malaysian waters.”
He said this in reply to Ahmad Amzad Mohamed (PAS-Kuala Terengganu) who wanted to know about the country’s total losses due to the encroachment of foreign fishermen and measures taken by the government to improve ‘Ops Naga’, during Question Time.
Earlier, Ahmad Amzad also asked whether the recent appearance of a pair of Orca or killer whales in Terengganu waters, near the Pelantar Dulang Petronas oil drilling platform, off Kerteh, has disturbed the country’s fishery resources.
Explaining on the matter, Salahuddin said a survey done by Rantau Abang Regional Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) found that the Orca whales that were spotted on July 16 this year, did not threaten the country’s fishery resources and local fishermen because of the migration of the mammals was not so frequent.
“The orca is a sub-species of Short-Finned Pilot Whale and have this habit of moving in a large group of 10 to 50. It was believed to have made the South China Sea as its migration route due to the squid season,” he said.
The Orca Whale was listed as one of the endangered marine species in Malaysia and the Fisheries Department protected in through Section 27 of the Fisheries Act 1985.
Previously, a short-finned pilot whale was found stranded and died in Sarawak in 2013. — Bernama