Trawlers cause extinction of fish and suffering of coastal fishers

CAP urges the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries and the Department of Fisheries to pay serious attention to the problems caused by trawling. This problem must be resolved immediately because the issue of depleting fishery resources and their impact on the lives of fisher families are worsening.

The recent encroachment of trawlers in the coastal fishing zone near Kuala Muda and Penaga in Seberang Perai Utara indicates weakness in the enforcement of the Fisheries Act 1985 is still occurring and has failed to curb illegal activities of the trawl boats.

CAP supports the recommendation of the Seberang Perai Fishermen’s Association chairman Mahadi Md Rodzi that the use of trawl nets in the fisheries sector in the country is banned. This is because the authorities have failed to take effective action to resolve the problem posed by encroachment of trawlers that has been occurring since the 1960’s.

The fishing gears not only threaten the fish fry and fish resources in our waters, but have resulted in tens of thousands of fishers to suffer from the decline in catches and impaired sustained source of income.

In a survey conducted by CAP in Perlis, Kedah and Penang, we found that more than 10,000 coastal fishers in the affected states suffer loss of income reaching upto 70% every time there is encroachment by trawlers in their fishing area (Zone A – 5 nautical miles from shore).

CAP was informed by the affected fishermen that one trawler boat traps and kills more than 60% of juvenile fish (fries) of various types, including high quality fish. To date over 50 species of fish that was previously abound in the coastal areas here are extinct and the main contributor to this problem is the encroachment of trawlers.

Several countries in the world such as Hong Kong, Venezuela, Palau, Belize, Japan and Indonesia have banned the use of trawl nets as it has adverse impacts on the fisheries resources and marine life. Malaysia needs to implement the same measures in order to protect our fisheries resources and food for the future of the people here.

Press Release, 3 August 2012