Restore rights of the Fisheries Department, MMEA fails to control trespassing of trawls

KUALA LANGAT, 6 June: The Federal Government has been urged to restore the authority of the Fisheries Department to control the trespassing of trawls in areas gazetted for traditional fishermen.

The Acting Chairman of the Selangor Fishermen’s Association, Mohd Haman Haris, said that the task given to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) is seen as to have failed to have the enforcement effect wished for.

He said that the trespassing of trawls have increased, while arrests have decreased compared to when it was under the jurisdiction of the Fisheries Department.


“Previously, under the Fisheries Department, arresting these trespassers could reach 400 arrests a year, but since it was taken over by the MMEA, it has decreased up to only 100 for the same period of time.

“We do not blame the MMEA because we understand that they have other commitments, especially the constraints of members, which makes it difficult to monitor fishing activities. So, return it to the Fisheries Department, as before, so that it is more efficient,” he said.

Earlier, he joined an information session on the Fishing Area Re-zoning Programme, which was also attended by the Kuala Langat District Fisheries Department Officer, Zainal Abidin Mohd Sukiman.

The MMEA was said to take over enforcement duties in the seas since 2010, while the Fisheries Department was only authorised to carry out enforcement in coastal areas only.

Meanwhile, Zainal Abidin, supports the call, adding that the government should use existing expertise within the Fisheries Department.


“We have the expertise because this is our field, so we know when the trespassing happens. If we can get back our assets, with enough members, I am certain that enforcement can be strengthened.

“This proposal is not just for us, but for the fate of fishermen. But it’s up to the government,” he said.

Referring to the MMEA official website, the body is placed under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and among others, works to enforce law and order under the federal law in the maritime zone and prevent offences in the area.

In addition, the MMEA also works to prevent and stop piracy and the illegal distribution of narcotic drugs in the high seas.

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