KUANTAN - The use of trawl nets for fishing will be banned beginning in 2016, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The ban will first be imposed within Zone B, which is between eight and 15 nautical miles (14.8km and 28km) from the shore, and may be extended further after discussions with fishermen associations and related agencies.
Ismail Sabri said some 5,000 trawler boat operators nationwide had been advised to use the purse seine or pukat jerut next year in order to protect the interests of inshore fishermen, who typically operated less than 14km from the shore, an area also known as Zone A.
Fishermen could start applying for the licence for using the purse seine, which was previously suspended by the Fisheries Department.
Ismail Sabri said studies and feedback received showed that the purse seine nets were more suitable for Zone B and C as they could pose less impact on the marine ecosystem compared with trawl nets.
"Meanwhile the inshore fishermen, who operate within Zone A, have to upgrade their boat capacity and equipment if they want to use the purse seine in Zone B.
"They are not allowed to use the purse seine within Zone A as it will affect other inshore fishermen who are still using fishing rods and small nets," Ismail Sabri said after officiating an agricultural exposition at the Urban Transformation Centre here yesterday.
He added that the Government would introduce marine fish rearing projects in future as a means for fishermen to survive the monsoon months, and was prepared to allocate RM45mil (S$18 mil) for this project.