Monitoring system for fishing vessels

Monitoring system for fishing vessels
BY HAMDAN RAJA ABDULLAH
MUAR: The authorities will be able to detect the movement of deep-sea fishing craft when Malaysia complies with a UN resolution to fit vessel monitoring system (VMS) devices in these boats by 2008.

The country’s Fisheries Department is looking into how this ruling can be carried out and will conduct studies soon on the different types of vessels as well as their sizes, tonnage and other related matters.

Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the vessels would include those licensed to fish beyond the 12-nautical miles zone from the coast.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation under the United Nations had called for all fishing nations to impose the regulations by 2008, he told reporters after meeting fishermen at Parit Jawa, near here, yesterday.

“It is important for our deep-sea fishing vessels to have these VMS devices so that we can detect their movement and know where they are in the open sea,” said Muhyiddin, who was accompanied by Malaysian Fisheries Development Council chairman Adam Hamid.

“We have asked the Fisheries Department to look into the present maritime laws and carry out studies on ways to implement the monitoring system by 2008.

“When fully implemented, the system will tell us when a vessel leaves for sea, when it returns, where it goes to fish and the amount of fish hauled,” he added.

Muhyiddin said VMS devices could also show if vessels encroached into restricted zones.

He said the big vessels, which are licensed to fish outside the 12-nautical miles zone, should not be allowed to fish near the coasts, adding that the enforcement unit of the Fisheries Department in all states as well as the marine police would be asked to book big fishing vessels encroaching into coastal zones.

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