Saturday, September 19

LKIM targets setting up consortium to ensure year-round fish supply in market

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KUCHING: Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM) plans to set up a consortium with strategic partners to ensure sufficient fish supply in the market at all times, including the monsoon season.

Its director-general Jamaludin Othman said the consortium will be able to provide better infrastructure such as bigger boats to enable fishermen to go further out to the sea as there are fewer fish along the coast.

“Research has shown that resources along the coast are getting less, so we need to go further out. We have had discussions with Agrobank for fishermen to get loans to build boats to go out to sea.

“We suggest the consortium to be managed by LKIM,” he told a press conference yesterday at Damai Beach Resort, where he earlier launched the official website of Sarawak Fishermen Association (Panesa) as well as officiate at the closing of the association’s team-building and 34th anniversary celebration.

Jamaludin said another measure to ensure continuous fish supply will be through the sale of fresh frozen fish.

He stressed that fresh frozen fish are not leftover, unsold fish but fresh ones kept in freezers as stock for the monsoon season.

He also encouraged fishermen to take up other activities during the monsoon season when they are unable to go out to sea, such as making seafood-based products or through agriculture and animal-rearing.

“We understand that not all fishermen have land, so they can go to LKIM offices to look at other programmes that they can undertake to increase their income.

“This will help to supplement the RM300 a month cost of living allowance,” he said.

When asked on the allowance, Jamaludin said as of the end of last month, 34,617 fishermen in the country have received the allowance.

Some 6,000 of the recipients are from Sarawak.

Those who have not received the allowance can appeal to LKIM, he pointed out.

“We still give chance to genuine fishermen who really go out to sea, to appeal if their allowance is on hold.

They need to meet the minimum requirement which is a minimum of 120 days going out to sea a year.

“Fishermen who are 70 years old and above are deemed not suitable to go out to sea, but if they appeal and our men see that they are still strong and can still go to sea, they can be considered.”

He said based on statistics, 74 per cent of the 56,000 licensed fishermen who actively go to sea are aged 40 and above, while those aged below 25 make up about 10 per cent.

On the diesel subsidy, Jamaludin said the government subsidises 60 million litres a month to 50,000 fishermen and of that figure, six million litres is for Sarawak.

“The subsidised diesel is distributed to licensed fishermen in Sarawak by Panesa without any issues,” he said.