PUTRAJAYA: The Department of Fisheries (DOF) has never issued or leased any deep-sea fishing licence to foreigners, said its director-general, Datuk Munir Mohd Nawi.
“The licence issued by the DOF is only for individuals or local companies,“ he said in a statement released today on media reports on the invasion of Vietnamese fishing vessels in the waters of the country and the invasion of the area by local fishing trawlers.
Since 2017 to date, 341 foreign vessel arrests were carried out involving 285 Vietnamese vessel cases; 44 cases of Indonesian vessels; six Thai vessels and six vessels from other countries such as China, Taiwan, Singapore and the Philippines, with a total seizure of RM682 million, he said.
A total of 786 local trawler vessels have intruded coastal areas and caused conflicts to coastal fishermen with a compound valuation, fines and auction of fish worth RM2.02 million, he said.
According to Munir, since September 2017, the DOF had no longer issued a deep sea permit for overseas acquisition vessels but instead encouraged the construction of new vessels in the country through the modernization of vessels.
Since 2011, licences for 577 deep sea vessels had also been revoked and 61 licenses were still in the process of cancellation, including the cancellation of licenses that did not meet requirements, he said.
“Fishermen are encouraged to work on trawlers in zone C or change resources that are more resource-intensive if they want to stay in the same zone,“ he said.
Munir said the DOF would improve the license renewal system with the use of the report card for deep sea vessels to give weightage and penalties on fish landing performance, MTU-VMS equipment activity, authenticity of vessels and the number offences committed.
The DOF will also implement the Quick Response Code - QR and Radio Frequency Identification - RFID on deep sea vessels as a means of identification and monitoring, installation of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and implementation of the elogbook system to record fish catch, he said. — Bernama