Friday, March 22

Diesel shortage grounds 150 fishing boats


Hong (seated centre) with the association committee members.

KOTA KINABALU: About 150 fishing boats are unable to go to sea since last Friday due to alleged red tape in the management of subsidized diesel supply.

According to Kota Kinabalu Fishing Boat Owners Association chairman Simon Hong, the supply of subsidized diesel that was introduced in 2006 has been helpful in reducing costs for fishermen but the decision to suddenly stop the supply has badly affected their fishing operations.

“As a result, it has caused a sudden surge in the price of fish in the market due to a drop in landings from the boat operators,” he told a news conference here yesterday.

Hong, who is also the Federation of Fishery and Fishing Vessel Association Sabah vice-president, said the supply of subsidized fuel should not be stopped to avoid disrupting fishing activities.

“We want the bureaucratic problems that cause the shortage of subsidized fuel to be addressed urgently by the relevant authorities,” he said.

Meanwhile, the association also urged that the total quota of subsidized diesel supply be increased to 3.5 million litres per month because the current quota of 2.5 million litres could not meet the fishermen’s needs.

Hong said at one time the total supply of subsidized diesel was increased to three million litres per month but the quota was subsequently reduced to 2.5 million litres.