Malaysia: Mystery of dead 'beached' fishes in Sabah solved

OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 7 Dec 15;

KOTA KINABALU: The mystery over the discovery of a mass of dead fishes at Likas Bay here has finally been solved.

The fishes were neither bombed or poisoned, says the Sabah Fisheries Department, but thrown away by fishermen.

Social media had been abuzz over pictures of dead fishes found along the fishing hotbed.

Netizens had speculated that the “beached” fishes were either bombed or had died due to toxins or the ‘red tide’ phenomenon. The news prompted the Sabah Fisheries Department to investigate.

Sabah Fisheries director Datuk Rayner Stuel Galid said their investigation revealed a simple conclusion, which was these were excess fishes were discarded by local fishermen.

“These small time fishermen (with) small boats usually set their nets overnight.

“Since it is the season for basung and tamban (sardines) fishes, they catch more than enough. The ones which are in poor condition, they discard,” he said, adding that the picture of the dead fishes at Likas Bay was taken on Saturday. Rayner said the department has already advised the fishermen not to simply discard the fishes into the sea.

As Likas Bay is under the purview of the Kota Kinabalu City Hall, the fishermen could be fined for littering.

The seasonal occurrence happens when food sources are abundant in the sea, leading to the fishes breeding more and boosting its overall population.

In August, it was reported fishermen in the west coast of Sabah experienced a massive catch of sardines for a whole week.