ISKANDAR PUTERI: A total of 161 fishing vessel owners registered with the Department of Fisheries (DOF) have benefitted from the Vessel Modernisation and Equipment Mechanisation Programme from January to date.

DOF director-general Ahmad Tarmidzi Ramly said the programme was an initiative under the Food Security Policy (DJM) implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) with an allocation of RM150 million.

“The main objective of the programme is to develop the coastal fisheries industry by giving the opportunity to traditional fishermen in Zone A and B to upgrade and modernise their vessels, instal efficient equipment and boost the aspect of security which will simultaneously increase the volume of fish catch.

“This programme will also reduce dependence on foreign crew members on vessels,” he said after visiting the DK Naval Technologies ship yard at the Tanjung Pelepas Industrial Park here today.

Also present was state Agriculture, Agro-based Industry and Rural Development Committee chairman Datuk Samsolbari Jamali.

Ahmad Tarmidzi said the use of modern mechanisms such as in purse seine fishing could reduce manpower usage which would indirectly give an advantage to fishing boat operators.

Meanwhile, Samsolbari said the state government welcomed the modernisation of vessels to boost fishermen’s activities to a higher level.

“As the state with the longest coastline, we should have fully equipped fishing activities assisted by various chain activities which also provide added value.

“So, we encourage fishermen to use automated mechanisms to make the fishing career more interesting,” he added.-Bernama