Affacts marine ecosystem, trawlers should be banned immediately

SHAH ALAM, 28 Aug: The government must act quickly in finding a solution to ban the use of trawls that threaten the marine ecosystem, thus leading to a problem in the national food industry.

The Member of Parliament for Kuala Nerus, Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, said that the international community has been discussing a ban in the use of trawls for a long time because it affects the ecosystem and damages the habitat of fish.

According to him, the Consumers’ Association of Penang has also expressed the same call to the government since 2011, and in fact, the Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries also agreed to carry out a detailed study on the matter on 2013.

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It is understood that at the beginning of last month, the Director General of the Fisheries Department stated that they have already set up a special committee to oversee the study on the problem.

“Why is time matter being solved so late by the ministry because we are facing a shortage of fish in the waters, which is shrinking, and the food crisis faced due to the operation of the trawlers?

“There are some major issues that need to be resolved in the near future as soon as possible to ensure the continuity of the supply of the fish in the country is guaranteed,” he said in a press statement.

The findings of a researcher at the Institute of Zoology of London, Dr Alex Rogers, found that the United States, Australia, Brazil and Germany are among the countries that support the ban.

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As a measure of solution, he said that stricter enforcement should be carried out by arresting and taking action against about 600 vessels of trawlers, including foreign trawlers that encroach Zone A and the waters around, especially in Sarawak each year for violating Act 317 (Fisheries Act 1985).

On average, about 175,000 metric tons of fish is caught annually by trawlers.

Apart from that, the government is urged to enforce the ban on vessels using trawlers below the size of 38 millimetres, especially in Zone B and Zone C.

“We need to emulate other ASEAN countries that set the new size of 60 mm. At the moment, it is difficult for a total ban because it could affect the country‚Äôs fishing industry.

“The landings of fish contributed by trawlers comprises of approximately 47.96% of 1.47 million metric tons per year,” he said.

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He said that investigation should be carried out in detail on the correlation of the demand for fish fry and the requirements in the sector of the aquaculture industry.

He said that is the aquaculture production is used for food reaching a million metric tons a year from that source, then of course the demand for fish fry will also be high and indirectly makes the process of the ban difficult.

“The ban on trawlers should be done objectively. The basic thing to be considered is the supply of fish and the food crisis in the country.

“It has to be conserved wisely without compromising the income of fishermen in the country. Therefore, this study should be expedited without delay as it has been voiced by various parties for over a decade,” he said.

NS

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