KOTA KINABALU: Six tour operators were compounded for conducting unauthorised fishing activities within Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP) waters.
Sabah Parks authorities issued compounds of RM3,000 to operators who were found to have offered fishing activities as part of tour packages to TARP, allowing tourists to catch fish in restricted areas.
“We found that these fishing activities were conducted within the park area. We had previously compounded three companies last month for committing a similar offence,” said Sabah Parks assistant director (enforcement and operation) Maipol Spait.
The activities were still being carried out, hence the ongoing special operation, Ops Pancing, he added, which is hoped to curb unscrupulous actions by irresponsible parties.
Maipol emphasised that fishing and removing objects within TARP compound is an offence under the Sabah Parks Enactment 1984 and Sabah Parks Regulations 1984.
He also told a press conference yesterday that 15 boats had been apprehended for various offences near the TARP area.
“By next year, we will implement TARP zoning which includes designated scuba diving sites.
From that, we will be able to monitor activities conducted outside areas which have not been endorsed by Sabah Parks.
“This is of utmost priority for tourist safety. If activities are carried out in undesignated areas, it could jeopardise safety as tourists may wander into boat zones,” he added.
Maipol further said tour operators had been briefed on the dos and don’ts within TARP waters last year and again at the end of last month.