PUTRAJAYA – The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) collected more than RM300 million in revenue between 2006 and Aug 24, this year.
Its director-general, Maritime Admiral Datuk Seri Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar said the sum was derived from fish auctions, compounds and fines imposed on foreign fishermen who encroached and fish illegally in the country’s waters.
He said 925 foreign trawlers and 7,368 crew, among them, Vietnamese, Thais and Indonesians were intercepted by MMEA during the period.
“Vietnam recorded the highest number of detained boats, that is, 502, followed by Indonesia and Thailand with 303 and 100, respectively. The rest were Philippines (7), China (6), Singapore (6) and one from Brunei,” he told Bernama at his office recently.
He said the MMEA would not use the detonation approach to destroy confiscated foreign boats. Rather, these boats would be submerged to become fish habitats.
Ahmad Puzi said 264 confiscated boats had been turned into artificial reefs mainly off the east and west coast of Malaysia.
“In this way we can contribute to fish productivity while preventing activities of illegal trawling,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said more than 40,000 fishermen had participated in the ‘Sahabat Maritim’ programme launched in 2007.
The programme is a cooperation between the MMEA and fishermen associations, shipping associations and private companies to combat maritime crimes.
“The local fishermen are human mobile radars for MMEA because they can spot suspicious activities and report to us for action to be taken right away,” he said.