The capture fisheries industry in Sabah is by far the largest contributor to the State’s total fisheries production. In 2004, it contributed about 84% of the total production 180, 000 metric tons with a estimated worth of more than half a billion Ringgits.
The industry sustain the livelihood of more than 22,000 fishermen engaged in fishing. Numerous communities benefit through employment and socio-economic opportunities that are associated with fishing, aquaculture and fish processing. Consumers of seafood and other aquatic produce of course have long enjoyed the numerous and assorted bounties from the seas and rivers. Sabah is also a net exporter of fish and fish products. It enjoys a substantial trade surplus and bring in positive foreign exchange.
There are 8 sub-programs implemented by the Department that have direct connection with the capture and post-harvest industry. These are as follows.
Fisheries Monitoring And Information
This project was started in the Sixth Malaysia Plan. The main objective for this project is to collect, analyse and update basic fisheries data and information for the department’s planning and management. All data and information are obtained directly from the district by an appointed Research Assistant. The data and information include baseline data of fishermen, fishing villages, infrastructure, processing plants, fish related association and supporting information on shops selling fisheries hardwares.
Marine Extension and Training Programme
Marine extension work are carried out in the district by the respective marine extension officers. Extension work are in the form of direct extension awareness, fisheries technical advice and in-situ development of particular village and fishermen. Marine Training is considered a continuation of extension work which is conducted in the marine districts or with the cooperation and assitance of Fisheries extension Office in Federal Territory Of Labuan and Institut Perikanan Malaysia, Chendering, Terengganu. Marine extension and training work is also funded by both State and Federal allocation. The main objective of the marine extension and training is in line with the government intention to develop human resources.
Development Of The Marine Capture Fisheries Industry
One of the major task of marine work is to develop the marine capture fisheries subsector with the intention of increasing fish landings and catches thus increasing food production. This include the development of deep sea fishing industry and exploitation of under-utilised fisheries stocks by promoting new entries and capital investments. Other sub-programs involve expanding the use of new and efficient fishing technologies, the introduction of new equipment such as SONAR and GPS and other hydro-acoustic, communication and navigation equipment, identifying, training and promoting new human resources. Apart from that this, work also include the coordination and development of additional infrastructure such as landing jetties, fishing complexs, ice factories and other supporting infrastructures on land.
Development of Processing And Downstream Industry
This particular program intends to develop the commercial, medium and cottage processing industries. This include the training, introducing and development of the concepts and applications of HACCP, new technologies and equipments, tertiary production, new packaging and processing of new products, uplift the processing and marketing capabilities especially the traditional subsector.
Fishermen Development And Marine Affairs Program
Fishermen development and marine affairs is part and parcel of the overall management and development of marine capture fisheries. The program under this encompass the work of listening to fishermen needs and problems through dailogues and other forums. This will be conducted on a colloborative approach through the fishermen’s associations and institutions. In addition this particular work intends to dissiminate notices to mariners and advice to fishermen on the wheater forecast and situation of seismic survey conducted by private companies.
Transfer Of New Fisheries Technology Program
The main objective of this project is to develop the fisheries sector through new technical knowledge and technology from within Malaysia or foreign countries where the technologies is more advanced. On this part the proses of bringing in new technologies involves the actual transfer of technologies, attending seminar or courses and close collaboration with other government or private fisheries instituition both within Malaysia and foreign especially on the aspect of aquaculture, marine technologies, post harvest and fish diseases.