Apollo Nets Threaten Marine Life and Source of Income of Coastal Fishers in Kuala Kurau, Perak

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) urges the Maritime Enforcement Agency of Malaysia (Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia — APMM) and the Perak State Fisheries Department to take urgent action to resolve problems faced by about 500 coastal fishers in Kuala Kurau who are threatened by Apollo net users.

The problem that has occurred since the last 30 years has not only jeopardized the livelihood of the coastal fishers in the area whose catch has dwindled to 70% every time they went fishing in the sea but has also led to the decline of fishery resources in the waters here.

The Apollo net boats often encroach the fishing zone of coastal fishers in this area at a distance of 1 to 2 nautical miles from the coast. Apollo net fishers catch various species of marine life including small fishes and juvenile crabs which are categorised as trash fish.

Fishers using Apollo trawl nets operate at night from 6.00pm to 6.00am the next day. One boat using Apollo net traps and kills 200kg to 300kg of juvenile fish including high-quality fishes such as jewfish (gelama), pomfret (bawal), threadfin (senangin) and juvenile crabs.

CAP found that juvenile crabs that can grow up to four pieces per kilogramme, but now are caught by the Apollo net fishers amounting to 15 pieces per kilogramme.

The encroachment of the Apollo net boats and its impact on fisheries resources and the lives of coastal fishers in Kuala Kurau have been reported by affected fishers to APMM and the Department of Fisheries here but till now no effective action has been taken.

CAP is concerned of this situation and if left unchecked we are worried that marine resources will decline further to extinction and the livelihood of coastal fishers here would be threatened seriously in the future.

Therefore CAP hopes that the relevant authorities will enforce the Fisheries Act 1985 so that this problem can be dealt with effectively. CAP also requests the Fisheries Department to revoke the license of Kenka two boats given to Perak fishers who use Apollo nets when running their operations.

14 January 2016