Sarawak Wants Aggressive Enforcement To Deal With Marine Encroachment

File photo of this China Coast Guard vessel, which has been anchored in Gugusan Beting Patinggi Ali for about two years.
File photo of this China Coast Guard vessel, which has been anchored in Gugusan Beting Patinggi Ali (also known as Luconia Shoals) for about two years.

MIRI – The Sarawak state government wants the authorities to deploy an aggressive enforcement approach in dealing with encroachment by foreign trawlers in the state’s waters.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem even though the current laws were adequate, he was disappointed over “poor enforcement” against such encroachment that could destroy the fisheries industry in Sarawak.

“They (foreign vessels) left a trail of destruction and must be stopped as soon as possible,” he said when launching Petronas-Sarawak Forestry Eco Marine project here Tuesday.

Adenan said one of the main problems in Sarawak involved foreign trawlers that used dredging methods to catch fish, which had destroyed marine life that was vital for the economy, especially in the fisheries industry as well as tourism and coral reefs.

Meanwhile Petronas chairman Tan Sri Sidek Hassan hoped the project would boost ecotourism and the livelihood of Sarawak fishermen, particularly in Miri.

He said a total of 1,750 unit of artificial reef balls would be deployed along the Miri-Sibuti Coral Reef National Parks, the largest marine park in Sarawak.

Petronas, in a statement issued to the media in conjuction with the project launch, said the reef balls weighing one ton each can last 500 years under the sea.

It said the reef balls would deter illegal fishing trawlers from the national park because their dragnet would be destroyed if entangled with the reef balls that had been planted around the coral reefs.