Illegal fishermen making a fortune in Sarawak waters

MIRI: Illegal foreign fishermen are laughing all the way to the bank with between RM800,000 and a million ringgit in hand each month per vessel, thanks to greedy Ali Babas.

Miri Fishermen Association (MFA) chairman Councillor Jamali Basri said that is the amount of money the aliens make per vessel, as each vessel can net between 80 and 100 tonnes of fish per month, and each tonne is valued at about RM10 per kilogramme.

The Ali Babas, on the hand, get RM5,000 per month per licence from these illegal foreign fishermen for use of their licences.

Some of the licences are local ones, and the rest from the peninsula, he told a press conference here yesterday.

The press conference was called in support of Sarawak Fishing Vessels Association (SFVA) and Belawai Area Fishermen Associations (PNKB) call yesterday to the state government to resolve this problem promptly.

Jamali said because of the presence of these foreign intrusions, which uses sophisticated boats to steal the nations marine resources, local fishermen were left with scraps.

It now quite difficult for local fishermen to make even RM2,000 per month. Previously, they could earn much more.

These Ali Babas are selling our marine resources as all the good fish are sold to `Mother Vessels waiting in the open sea, while leftovers (small fish) are sold in local markets through Tanjung Manis.

Jamali said MFA, too, were against the bringing in of foreign fishing vessels to fish in the state as it was jeopardising the livelihood of local fishermen.

In addition, their presence was tantamount to daylight robbery as they are stealing the states marine resources.

Action should be taken against Ali Babas as, for the sake of getting RM5,000 per month (per licence), they willingly let foreigners steal our resources.

Jamali claimed these foreign fishermen were very aggressive and trawl non-stop the whole day using nets that not only destroy coral reefs but also the bubu fish traps of local fishermen from Tanjung Datu to Miri.

If all the 250 foreign fishing vessels are permitted to catch fish in Sarawak, what will be left for our local fishermen?

Meanwhile, fishermen Musa Bujang, who owns a Class A licence, believed clone fishing vessels were also at play.

He related an incident a few years ago when he saw a foreign fishing vessel with the number SF2C trawling at Tanjung Serik. However, he was surprised to see later another foreign vessel with the same number in Balingian.

Like PNKB and SFVA, MFA, too, hoped Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem would step in to resolve this issue quickly, similar to the way he tackled the intrusion of Suluk fishermen recently.

Jamali said Adenan had thus far done a good as the states chief executive, including helping fishermen.