KUCHING, July 9 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) will expand its enforcement methods involving its members disguising as local fishermen to catch foreign fishing boats encroaching Sarawak waters.
Director of the MMEA Sarawak, Maritime First Admiral, Robert Teh Geok Chuan, said the enforcement method was successfully implemented in the Kuching zone waters since last March with the cooperation of local fishermen following the agency's lack of assets to prevent the invasion of foreign fishermen throughout the state waters.
"I have informed Maritime directors of the Miri, Bintulu and Tanjung Manis zones to cooperate with fishermen, because our assets are not enough," he told a news conference on the arrest of foreign fishermen from Vietnam at the Tun Abang Salahuddin Maritime Complex, Muara Tebas here today.
Teh was commenting on the statement by Sarawak Fishermen's Association (Penesa) Chairman, Jam Hajimi recently that the invasion of foreign fishermen in Sarawak waters affected fishing in Miri, Bintulu and Sibu.
He said the agency's enforcement officers who disguised themselves as fishermen would tag along local fishermen fishing with their boats.
He said the crew would then take the foreign fisherman's fishing boat caught in the waters of the state and take the boat to the port of the agency, so far four foreign fishing boats have been detained using the method in the Kuching zone.
"Now foreign fishermen from Vietnam are fearful of fishermen from Kuching, because they cannot tell which fisherman come with our enforcement personnel," he said.
He said the agency had already begun to extend the enforcement in the Bintulu zone, the Tanjung Manis zone in Sibu and then to the Miri zone and hoped that local fishermen in all zones would cooperate to capture foreign fishermen who trespassed the state's waters.
On the arrest of foreign fishermen from Vietnam, he said four boats were arrested on July 7 at Tanjung Sirfik with 58 captains and crew with the value of seizure of fish, boats and equipment worth RM6 million.