Kota Kinabalu: A special tag with unique identification code to be installed on all Sabah registered deep sea fishing boats is expected to put a stop to cloned foreign fishing boats stealing fish and other marinelife.
Sabah Fisheries Department Director Dr Ahemad Sade said the identification code, easily deciphered via smart tag reader application, would allow the authorities to spot illegal fishermen more effectively by cross-checking the details and location.
He said the code would complement the mobile tracking unit, which is now mandatory for all fishing boats, for easy verification.
Most of the deep sea fishing vessels in Sabah are of Vietnamese and Philippines make and local fishing boat operators who flout the law risk their licences being revoked.
In the instance of foreign boats, the skipper could face a RM1 million fine plus, RM100,000 for each foreign crew onboard and the boat confiscated, if caught.
"It will not be easy for them to duplicate the tag and will make it much easier for the authorities to know whether the boat is a clone.
"The authorities would know if the fishing boat is illegal if the tag had been duplicated because the location would not match," he said on the first day of tagging the deep sea fishing boats, Tuesday.
He said it would take the department at least one month to install it on all 51 deep sea fishing boats across Sabah.
The department's measure involves the use of Quick Response Code introduced in the automotive industry but it is said to be the first in Malaysia to be used on boats.
He said it is an offence under the Fisheries Act for any boats without the tag or taking it off from its designated spot inside the boat.
On another note, Dr Ahemad said the department is still reviewing the application of about six fishing companies from the East Coast wanting to operate their 15 purse seine boats in the West Coast.
Aware of the opposition by fishing boat operators from the West Coast to the plan, he said the review of these applications is stringent and would only be approved on a temporary basis.
"It will only be for three years," he said.
Dr Ahemad said the department will look into among others, impacts of an increased number of fishing boats here and seafood resources before arriving at a decision.
Several fishing boat operators in the East Coast were not able to go out to sea following the directive from the Indonesian Government restricting its nationals hired as fishermen in Sabah from going out to sea.
The reason for moving their operations to West Coast was largely driven by loss of business and kidnapping-for-ransom fears. - Jason Santos
news source : http://dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=116754