Malaysia: Sabah Fisheries may propose export ban on fresh sea products

The Star 30 Jan 18;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Fisheries Department will recommend a ban on the export of fresh marine products from the state if a shortage arises ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations.

The department’s director Dr Ahemad Sade said the move is to protect the interest of locals and to ensure sufficient local supply.

“We will recommend to the state government to order a temporary ban if there is a need. This will help lower the prices of fresh sea products,” he said.

The Kota Kinabalu Fishing Boat Owners Association claimed fish prices are increasing due to the drop in fish landings.

The department will also suggest that all fishing vessels land their catches at the Sabah Fish Marketing jetty here and stop any dealing of high value fish at sea, which is against the Fisheries Act.

Dr Ahemad said claims that the prices of fish have increased by 50% is not true.

Based on the department’s monitoring, he said, there is enough fresh fish stock in the market and the prices are still under control.

“For example, ikan tulai (sardine) cost RM6 a kg based on our checks,” he said on Sunday.

Consumers have complained that sardines were being sold from RM8 to RM12 per kg at times in the Kota Kinabalu Fish Market.

Dr Ahemad also dismissed claims that there was a 50% drop on fish landing in west coast of Sabah.

Based on its statistics, he said, there is a slight increase in landings from 159,773 metric tonnes (valued at RM938.3mil) in 2016 to 161,424 metric tonnes(RM820mil) in 2017.

“Our fishery landings has been consistent,” he added.

On issues of local operators using foreign fishing boats with cloned fishing permits, he said that since 2015 the Government had barred foreign fishing trawlers from Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philip­pines and Brunei from operating in the state.

Seafood exports to be halted?
OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 31 Jan 18;

KOTA KINABALU: THE Sabah Fisheries Department will submit a request to the state government to temporarily halt the export of seafood ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations.

Its director, Dr Ahemad Sade, said the move was aimed at preventing the supply of seafood from depleting and to prevent food prices from ballooning.

Ahemad was responding to claims by Kota Kinabalu Fishing Boat Owners Association chairman Simon Hong that fish catches had declined by half compared with 2015.

“It is not true that the number of fish caught had gone down. Based on our statistics, fishermen in the state caught a consistent amount of fish.

“Last year, we recorded landings of 161,424 metric tonnes, valued at RM938.3 million, compared with 159,773 metric tonnes of fish in 2016,” he said in a statement.

Ahemad added that there was still an abundant supply of seafood in Sabah, based on the department’s recent checks at local markets.

He said since 2015, the state government had restricted the use of foreign fishing vessels by local fishermen in Sabah waters.

“However, existing fishing vessels can still be used, provided they comply with regulations.

“The government has set strict conditions for the application of deep sea fishing licenses,” he added.

Deep sea fishing permits, he said, could only be issued to Malaysian citizens to catch fish in Sabah waters.

“For deep sea fishing, the area of operations should be at least 30 nautical miles from the shore and they should not use trawlers to catch fish.”

Ahemad said all vessels must drop their catch at the designated fish landing jetties provided by the government.

“Each vessel has to install a Mobile Transceiver Unit (MTU) and special marking plate for monitoring and authentication purposes.

“The department has also been working with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency to address the issue of vessel cloning.”