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THE Fisheries Department is clamping down on the rampant use of illegal fishing traps, including box traps known locals as “bubu naga”, by local fishermen in the waters of certain states in Peninsular Malaysia.
Deputy Director-General (Development) Mohd Mohtar Mahamud said the illegal fishing traps are being sold on online platform Shopee.
“The illegal use of bubu naga in the peninsula is rampant, and we are not sure whether this fishing trap is also used by fishermen in Sabah, Labuan and Sarawak.
“This fishing trap has the potential of destroying the marine ecosystem and depleting resources, as it traps all species and sizes of fishes, including juveniles,” he told reporters after receiving three patrol boats at the Labuan Fisheries Dept jetty in Labuan today.
Mohtar said this uncontrolled fishing method is considered as requiring less effort as fishermen need only set them at night and pick them up in the morning.,
He said this type of box fishing trap is widely used by fishermen in neighbouring countries near the northern part of the peninsula.
“We hope enforcement agencies, including the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and marine police, will continue to assist us in enforcing the law under the Fisheries Act 1985 to stop this illegal fishing method,” he said.
He said those caught using the fishing traps can be prosecuted under Section 11(3)(c) of the Fisheries Act 1985 for fishing using unauthorised methods.
If convicted, they can be fined not more than RM20,000, jailed for up to two years, or both.
“We hope local fishermen will not use this illegal fishing method or they will have to pay the price,” he added. – Bernama, July 19, 2022.