KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 —The exponential increase in fish prices at local markets is due to the lack of supply in waters off Malaysia, according to the National Fishermen's Association.
Its chairman Abdul Hamid Bahari told Malay news portal Getaran that local fishermen estimate a decline of up to 70 per cent in fishes sighted off the seas, especially in the northern part of peninsular Malaysia.
That is from more than a million tonnes down to about 300,000 tonnes a month.
Abdul Hamid added this has also the fishermen's earnings to decrease.
He was explaining the reason behind the fish price increase. Small-sized mackerel are now sold at between RM12 and RM14 per kilogramme, compared to RM3 to RM4 previously.
Getaran, the sister publication of English-language daily The Vibes, also reported an unnamed source from the Fisheries Department saying that the decline in fishes off Malaysian waters was not a new phenomenon.
"Actually, this has been happening since 2015 and what is worrying us is that the frequency is decreasing due to the large number of catches every year.
"This ‘greed’ has caused it to decrease drastically, especially in the coastal sea, and one of the main factors is unreported and unregulated fishing activities, which is illegal fishing.
"In fact, some fishermen in zone C took the advantage by fishing in zone A and B, causing it to be out of hand," the source was quoted saying.
Getaran reported the source did not deny nor elaborate when asked if the decline in fish sighting is due to uncontrolled deep-sea fishing activities around Malaysia.
Despite a decrease in the number of fishes caught, the Fisheries Department maintains at least a yield of 1,000,000 tonnes each year.
The agency recorded 1,148,729 tonnes in 2015; 1,195,360 tonnes in 2016; 1,170,270 tonnes in 2017; 1,192,722 tonnes in 2018; 1,192,354 tonnes in 2019 and 1,169,201 tonnes in 2020.