Encroachment of foreign fishermen in Perlis waters major concern for locals

KUALA PERLIS, March 11 — Foreign fishermen and those from other states have been sighted aggressively encroaching Perlis waters of late for marine resources here and causing dismay among local fishermen and residents.

In addition, the actions also damaged the ecosystem of state waters further resulting in difficulty in finding marine species in the area.

A Bernama check with local fishermen here, found around 20 fishing boats believed to be from Langkawi, Penang and Thailand actively scooping cockles and carpet clams.

A fisherman, Shaharim Senapi, 65, said the affected area, located five nautical miles from the beach, had been gazetted for breeding marine species by the Fisheries Department prior to this.

However, the intrusions had destroyed the marine ecosystem for the species which had been nurtured for the past 20 years.

“Local fishermen have not disturbed the marine lives for years in the area but since last year they (foreign and outside boats) had started encroaching into the area and destroying the sea eco-system.

“They used boats to harvest the cockles and carpet clams here to reap an easy profit,” he told Bernama here.

Another fisherman, Jamaluddin Alias Jaafar, 61, said the issue had also resulted in local fishermen suffering losses due to the dip in their daily catches.

More worryingly, he said local fishermen were also forced to pay the cost of repairing their nets caused by the cockle and carpet clam harvesting activities.

“The sea beds in the encroached waters are destroyed and they stink making it difficult to obtain fish, crabs and prawns here.

“The scooping activities also prompted the presence of thorny snails which damage our nets,” he said.

Fisherman, Asri Jad, 49, said that normally local fishermen would be able to obtain an income of around RM100 a day from their catches but the amount had dropped to RM20 to RM30 a day because of the encroachment.

“The costs of repairing damaged nets also reach over RM100 and this is forcing us to incur a big loss,” he said.

State Integrated Enforcement Co-ordination and Public Complaint Committee chairman Nurulhisham Yaakob said the state government took cognisance of the issue.

He said the issue had been discussed several times during the state executive councillors committee meetings prior to this.

He said constraints arising from inadequate equipment among the enforcement authorities made it difficult to implement enforcement action.

“As such, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man has requested for an allocation for the needed equipment for enforcement purposes,” he said.

Yesterday, Azlan, in a Facebook posting, had raised the issue of encroachment by fishermen specifically from Thailand in the waters of Perlis during the 138th Menteri Besar and Chief Minister’s Meeting in Putrajaya recently.

He said weakness in enforcement activities occurred due to financial constraints.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency