You Are Here

Overfishing drying up supply

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has lost almost 92 per cent of its fish resources to overfishing in a span of 36 years from 1971 to 2007, according to surveys and reports by the country’s Department of Fisheries.

In response to the alarming decline in fish stocks, the department recently implemented a new requirement that makes it an offence for fisherman to use trawling nets with a mesh size of less than 38mm. This is to protect smaller fishes that would otherwise be caught alongside commercial fishes.

While the move has been lauded by environmental NGOs such as WWF Malaysia, fisherman are not pleased. They claim that larger size mesh prevents them from catching smaller seafood such as shrimp, which in turn deprived them of additional income used to cover operational costs and losses during bad seasons.

While Gangaram Pursumal, manager of WWF Malaysia’s Peninsular Malaysia Seas Programme, acknowledges that the ruling will result in smaller catches of fish, he stresses that fisherman need to look at the big picture and prioritise long-term sustainability over short-term profits.

“Fish stocks are not inexhaustible – they cannot be replenished once they are totally exhausted. If we continue at this current rate, we may have to import all our fish in future and the fishing industry will be affected,” he tells The Heat, adding that the country is already importing fish from Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar to meet local demand.

Gangaram says WWF is working with the Fisheries Department on the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management regime that takes into account the different areas of the fishing industry.

The Fisheries Department is also looking into other sustainable fishing measures such as catch limits and closed seasons for fishing to protect species of fish during vulnerable times in their life cycle.

For full story and other hot stories, visit

Add Comment
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

* fields are required.
All comments will be reviewed by site administrators and will be published after approval. Selected comments will also be featured in the Readers' comments section.

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
What code is in the image?
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Top stories
Khalid should allow smooth transition of power to preserve his integrity
COMMENT: Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s personal quest to defend his “integrity”...
Will Najib ignore Dr M’s potshots just like he ignores everything else?
COMMENT: The news landscape of late is being peppered by tales of a disappointed ex-PM Tun Dr...
Is labelling Selangor ‘Darul Babi’ seditious?
COMMENT: As civil society and human rights lawyers start expressing disgust over Prime Minister...
PAS decides to live with Pakatan, not die with Khalid
OUTSPOKEN: All said and done, Pakatan Rakyat emerged from its presidential council meeting last...
The degrading quality of Malaysian politicians
OUTSPOKEN: Malaysia today has seen the quality of its politicians going downhill. Ministers seem no...
The high cost of getting high
OUTSPOKEN: What do these have in common? In early August, two British medical students were fatally...
Hot topics
From 80kg to 44kg, Jed turns her life around
KUALA LUMPUR: Busy schedules, a lack of confidence and short on motivation seem to be the main...
Interns shouldn’t have to work for free
OPINION: Once, an internship undertaken during your semester break would very likely land you a...
Business Targeted
Reunion in full bloom
KUALA LUMPUR: In a more conventional time, the Mid-Autumn Festival would set the scene for young...
Young buyers not keen on studios, SoHos
KUALA LUMPUR: While property devel­opers have become more innovative in creating pur­portedly...