'Uniam', fish farms to boost fishermen's income

THE Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM) has launched a programme to enrich fisheries resources by constructing 'unjam' (clumps of branches anchored at sea to attract fish) off the Muar-Batu Pahat coast.

The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry, which oversees LKIM, believes that the creation of 'unjam' along the coast, besides promoting marine life, would also help prevent intrusions by trawlers.

The ministrv revealed this in a verbal reply to Bakri member oparliament Er Teck Hwa in Parliament on March 25.

Speaking at his Jalan Saldh service centre in Muar recently, Er said the ministry had replied that while it had no specific fisheries rehabilitation programmes along the coastal belt from Kesang to Sungai Balang in Johor, LKIM would be carrying out the 'unjam' project.

It Would also be promoting fish farms at sea off Sungai Balang and Sungai Kesang here.

The ministry had made a ruling that priority for the schemes would be given to local fishermen to upgrade their socio-economic condition by generating more income.

The main purposes of the fish farms at sea were to enrich, increase and stabilise fish supply, to upgrade catch by traditional fishermen and create more fishing grounds in areas devastated by illegal trawling activities.

The ministry said LKIM would also implement Commtmity Management Fisheries Resources Programmes (Komuniti Pengurusan Sumber Perikanan, KPSP) in sew eral areas.

It is understood that the KPSP Kesang would be involved in selling fresh fish, KPSP Sungai Balang in ice manufacturing and KPSP Parit Jawa in breeding sea mussels (kupang).

The ministry, in another reply to Er in Parliament on March 24, said the maritime enforcement agencies had taken action on 19 cases of intrusions by trawler operators at Tanjung Tohor and Park Jawa in Johor in the last 10 years from 2000 up to March this year.

"With the exception of one case which was referred to the court, the rest were given compound fines and their catch auctioned off," he said.

The enforcement agencies included the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Marine police, Customs, Navy and the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority.

The agencies nabbed six trawlers for illegal fishing in 2005 followed by four so far this year, three (2002), two (2001) and one per year from 2006 to 2009. No arrests were made in 2003 and 2004.

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