More than 10,000 coastal fishermen badly hit by the activities of the trawlers, says CAP.
In a statement here today, CAP president SM Mohamed Idris said fish are being depleted and coastal fishermen are suffering because of the activities of the trawlers and their nets.
He said the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry should pay serious attention to the problems caused by trawling.
“The problem must be resolved immediately because fishermen and their families are feeling the impact of depleting fish,” he said.
He said CAP fully supports a recent call by Seberang Perai Fishermen’s Association chairman Mahadi Md Rodzi for an immediate ban on trawl nets.
Idris blamed weak enforcement of the Fisheries Act 1985 for the authorities’ failure to clamp down on the activities of the illegal trawlers.
As an example, he cited the recent encroachment of trawlers into coastal fishing zone near Kuala Muda and Penaga in Seberang Perai Utara.
“The authorities failed to stop the encroachment that has been going on since the 1960s,” he said.
Idris said that a CAP study showed that the fishing gears not only threatened the fish fry and fish resources, but also caused tens of thousands of inshore fishermen to suffer from the decline in their catches.
In Perlis, Kedah and Penang, more than 10,000 coastal fishermen have suffered loss of income of up to 70% each time trawlers encroached into their fishing “Zone A” area, five nautical miles from shore.
CAP found that a trawler boat can trap and kill over 60% of juvenile fish or fries of various types.
To date, Idris said more than 50 species of fish found in abundance in these coastal areas have been wiped out by illegal trawling.
He called on Malaysia to emulate countries like Hong Kong, Venezuela, Palau, Belize, Japan and Indonesia to ban trawl nets.
“These nets cause massive adverse impacts on marine life. Malaysia must ban the nets to protect our fishery resources and food for future,” Idris said.