MIRI: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) intercepted a Class C fishing boat, spotted at about eight nautical miles northwest of Tanjung Payung here on Friday afternoon.
MMEA Miri director Capt Md Fauzi Othman, in a press statement yesterday, said the discovery of the vessel was made possible through operations and routine patrols covering Miri waters.
“From the inspections, it is found that the local boat had been engaged in fishing activities less than 12 nautical miles (offshore), which is a violation against the conditions stated in the licence owned. “All five crew members are local men, aged between 26 and 55,” he said.
The vessel, together with fishing equipment and its catch weighing around 300kg were brought to the Maritime Vessel Detention Centre in Pulau Melayu, pending further investigation under Section 8 (b) of Fisheries Act 1985.
Adding on, Md Fauzi said MMEA Miri had been receiving has received complaints from the traditional fishermen about Class B and C fishermen who went fishing in unauthorised waters.
For the record, Class B fishermen are only allowed to operate beyond five nautical miles offshore, while Class C fishermen, or trawlers, can only run activities beyond 12 nautical miles offshore.
“We will closely monitor and take action against boats that are found to be violating the regulations regarding the permitted areas for fishing because such action not only violates the licensing conditions under the Fisheries Act 1985, but it also affects the livelihood of Class A (five nautical miles and below) fishermen and destroys the ecosystem for reproduction of fisheries in those waters,” he added.
The public can lodge any complaint about criminal activities and emergencies at sea to the Miri Maritime Zone Operations Centre by calling 085-418 204, or to Sarawak Maritime Operations Centre via 082-432 544.