Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) urge the government to immediately ban the use of trawl nets in order to save our fisheries resources from impending extinction.
SAM and CAP are submitting a memorandum to Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak today (18 December 2014) expressing our concern that the continued use of trawl nets will not only threaten the livelihood of 80,000 coastal fishers in the country but also adversely impact the future of our fisheries sector. The memorandum will also be submitted to Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Dato’ Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Secretary General of the Ministry and the Director-General of Fisheries.
Besides SAM and CAP, other non-governmental organizations, fisheries experts and scientists have also expressed their concern on this matter and hope that the issue is given serious attention by the government.
Survey conducted by SAM and CAP found that trawl nets not only trap and kill more than 90% of juvenile fishes and fries but also destroy coral reefs that are breeding grounds for marine life. In recent years, trawlers have been more active in catching small fishes following the increasing demand to supply feed for the aquaculture industry.
Subsequently, there is frequent encroachment by trawlers into the coastal fishing area i.e. Zone A (1 to 8 nautical miles from shore). This has caused depletion of fish stock and thus catch of fishers has dwindled to nearly 70%.
Coastal fishers claim that their livelihood has been threatened since forty years ago due to the activities and encroachment of trawlers. In addition to depleting income, major loss is also suffered when the trawlers collide with their fishing nets. At present about 150 species of marine life are endangered or extinct due to the widespread and uncontrolled use of trawl nets.
SAM and CAP urge the government to ban trawl nets in the country, as implemented by other countries such as Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Palau. If a ban on trawl nets is not imposed now, come 2048, Malaysia’s seas will be out of fish.