Revocation of foreign-held fishing licences to protect locals

Dr Teo (fifth left) with some local fishermen at the press conference. Abun is at sixth left.

MIRI: The move to revoke several hundred deep-sea fishing licences to foreign fishermen is meant to protect the interest of locals.

Miri MP Dr Michael Teo said the Malaysian Fisheries Department has also acted against local licence holders who employ foreign fishermen by revoking their licence.

“It’s good for the local fishing industry as there would be no interference from foreign fishermen who use illegal methods such as pairing trawlers,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

He said locals had been suffering losses for many years due to the presence of foreign fishermen, whose aggressive methods often destroy the marine life and environment at sea.

Additionally, he said fish caught by the foreign fishermen – usually Thai or Vietnamese – will be sold to a ‘mother ship’ waiting in international waters.

“The mother ship buys all the best catch while rejected fish or ‘second class’ fish are brought back for sale in the local market,” said Dr Teo, adding the foreign vessels also take advantage of the government’s diesel subsidy.

He also said the move is good news for local fishermen as they no longer have to compete with foreign fishermen. Among those present at the press conference were Miri Fishermen Association chairman Musa Bujang, Sarawak Fishing Boats adviser Ling Seng Chiong and PKR Hulu Rajang chairman Abun Sui.