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Fishermen Worried As Income Affected By Haze

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GEORGETOWN – The haze inundating the state is affecting the income of fishermen, especially those operating in coastal waters, since low visibility is preventing them from going out to sea.

Penang Fisheries Department director Abdullah Md Din said those badly affected are fishermen in Zone A (fishing within 0-5 nautical miles) because their boats lacked radar equipment.

“They are worried about colliding with other fishing boats if they go to sea due to the low visibility. This is affecting their income,” he told reporters after a Fisheries Volunteer Accreditation Ceremony here, today.

In this regard, he said the department was collecting all the information related to the problems of fishermen to be submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry for further action.

To date, he said the supply of fish in Penang was adequate but prices had gone up as fishermen are affected by the haze.

Meanwhile, several fishermen met at the ceremony expressed concern as their income had dropped by 50 per cent due to the haze.

Khor Thiam Hoo, 54, said he still went out to sea despite the haze as it was his only source of income.

“I have no alternative because I have to pay my crew. The catch has dropped more than 30 per cent but we still have to get on with it as it is my livelihood,” he said.

Thor Kean Wah, 40, said he had not gone to sea for a week because the visibility was so limited and his boat did not have GPS equipment.

“I dare not go out to sea as I fear my net may disappear if I put them out and I may not be able to find my way back to base in Kuala Jalan Baharu, Balik Pulau here as the visibility is so limited,” he said.

A fisherman in Sungai Pinang, here, Mohamed Rafee M. Sheriff, 51, said he had only gone to sea eight days in the whole of this month and was a very worried man as his income had dropped drastically.

“A myriad of problems crop up due to the haze because it does not only involve visibility but also our health. So, I hope the authorities concerned will tackle the problem for the continuous survival of coastal fishermen like us,” he added. – BERNAMA

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