CAP disagrees with the decision and announcement made by the Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, that the government will enforce a ban on trawl net mesh size of 38mm and below to save marine species and fish fries from becoming extinct. It is reported that the enforcement will begin in November and involves 6,116 trawl vessels of Class B, C and C2 country-wide.
“We do not want only trawl nets with a mesh size of 38mm and below being banned. The government must also ban the use of trawl vessels and stop the issuance of licenses to all trawlers in the country”
CAP’s survey has found that an operating trawl vessel not only traps and kills more than 60% of juvenile fishes of various types in our waters but also pollutes the sea-bed and coastal area, besides damaging coral reefs where fishes breed.
At the same time, trawling operations in Zone A or five nautical miles from the shore that enforcement agencies have failed to control since 40 years ago has resulted in more than 50,000 coastal fishers’ livelihood threatened because of decline in catch. Affected coastal fishers have complained to CAP that their income has dropped to 70% and sometimes they return home empty-handed due to trawler encroachments. There are also some who complained that their nets were damaged after colliding with the trawl vessels.
At present around 150 species of marine life in this country is threatened of extinction. The situation is worsening because some trawlers modify their nets into crocodile nets that are more damaging to our fisheries resources. According to a World Fisheries report, the supply of fish in Malaysian waters has dwindled between 80 to 90% due to the use of trawl nets.
Considering the weak and ineffective enforcement of the Fisheries Act 1985 and other negative impacts of trawling operations, CAP is unyielding in our call that trawl fisheries must be banned in the country.
Press Release, 5 September 2013