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K0709 09/07

Issue 131

15

Application of Geographic Information System & Statistical Methods for Effective Marine Fisheries Law Enforcement in the South China Sea






Year Total Total Marine Capture Marine Coastal Fisheries (% Deep Sea Percentage Fisheries Fisheries Fisheries (Tons) (% Capture of Total Fisheries Fisheries (% of of Sector (Value in of Total Fisheries) Fisheries Production) Total Fisheries Contribution (Tons) Million (Value in Production) by Fisheries RM) Million Sector to RM) GDP

2000

1,453,590

5,370.0

1,285,696 (88.45%)

4,400.0

1,114,669 (76.68%)

171,027 (11.77%)

1.6

2001

1,408,308

6,450.0

1,231,289 (87.4%)

4,170.0

1,063,363

(75.5%)

167,926 (11.9%)

1.54

2002

1,463,921

5,410.0

1,272,078(86.9%)

4,210.0

1,081,357(73.9%)

190,741(13%)

1,5

2003

1,483,958

5,310.0

1,283,256(86.48%)

4,010.0

1,084,802

(73 %)

98,453 (13.37%)

1.37

2004

1,537,988

5,505.9

1,331,645

(87%)

4,241.4

1,060,150

(69%)

271.485(17.6%)

1.73

2005

1,421,402

5,245.68

1,209,609(87.1%)

4,017.52

988,313(71.17%)

221,288(15.94%)

1.08


Eurowpter Dauphin AS365N3 oftheMMEA (Courtesy Euiwpter Malaysia)

Table i. Malaysia's Fisheries Production From 2000 to 2005

Source Department of Fisheries Official Web Sites (http://www.dof.gov.my)
BYHJSUTARJI&NRHASHIM


T


he Fisheries sector is important to Malaysia because it generates revenue, provides employment and forms a major source of the dietary requirements of many Malaysians. For years this sector, especially the marine capture fisheries, has contributed about 1.5 percent of Malaysia's gross domestic products (GDP). The marine capture fisheries are comprised of coastal fisheries and deep-sea fisheries. With the exception of 2004, coastal fisheries made up more than 71% of the total fisheries production from 2000 to 2005. During the same period, the deep sea fisheries contributed between 11 to 17%. Details of the fisheries production for six years from 2000 to 2005 are shown in Table 1. Despite its importance, this sector, especially the production of the marine capture fisheries, has not been growing steadTTy.

In view of the importance of this industry, it is only proper that the marine fisheries activity in the maritime zones be controlled, managed, and regulated, so that these activities are carried out safely and the sea resources carefully exploited and utilized.

However, the protection, conservation and management of marine fisheries are problematic because the fisheries are continuously threatened with illegal fishing by both local and foreign fishing vessels and because of destructive fishing practices. The government has established several maritime enforcement agencies and enacted the Fisheries Act of 1985 to protect marine fisheries. For five

years, from 2000 to 2004, a total of 2, 619 foreign fishing vessels were sighted fishing illegally in Malaysia's fisheries waters. 771 of these illegal fishing vessels were sighted the South China Sea off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.1 However, during the same period, a total of about 120 foreign fishing vessels were arrested by various

Malaysia's maritime enforcement agencies for illegal fishing in the same sea areas. The data shows that only 15.6% of the foreign fishing vessels sighted for illegal fishing in the South China Sea were arrested.

Theoretically, increased enforcement activities should reduce or even prevent violations by fishermen.

Journal of the Australian Naval Institute

16

Application of Geographic Information System & Statistical Methods for Effective Marine Fisheries Law Enforcement in the South China Sea





East Malaysia Maritime Zone (courtesy MMEA)
Hence, the data in Table 1 suggests that, although a fisheries law exists to protect and manage the fisheries, substantial non­compliance with the law continues to occur. There are many reasons for non-compliance by these foreign fishermen, but data demonstrates that one of the reasons is ineffective enforcement. This paper analyzes the trends of intrusion of these foreign fishing vessels into Malaysia's fisheries waters in the South China Sea (off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia); the efforts made by the various Malaysia's maritime enforcement agencies to contain them; and proposes new approaches for more effective marine fisheries law enforcement. To achieve these objectives, data related to the arrests of foreign fishing vessels for illegal fishing in Malaysia's fisheries waters2 in the South China Sea for three consecutive years, namely 2005, 2006 and 2007, were used. Both the geographical information system (GIS) and statistical approaches were used to analyze the data.

Fisheries Law Enforcement in the South China Sea

As stated in the Section 15 (1) of the Malaysian Fisheries Act of 1985, no foreign fishing vessels are allowed to fish or to attempt to fish, or to conduct techno-economic research, or to conduct a survey of any fishery in Malaysia's fisheries waters unless authorised by the government of

Malaysia.

To support efficient enforcement of the Act, the Director General of Fisheries, a Deputy Director General of Fisheries, a fishery officer, a port officer (as defined in the Merchant Shipping Ordinance of 1952), the Commanding Officers of any Government naval vessels or Government aircraft, the Commanding Officers of any Government marine police vessels, or any other person or class of persons are appointed to be an authorized officer in the enforcement of the Act. Hence, Commanding Officers of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) vessels, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) vessels, the Marine Police vessels, and the Department of Fisheries vessels are authorized officers to enforce the Fisheries Act of 1985 by carrying out surveillance, monitoring and enforcement in the fisheries waters.3

Malaysia's fisheries waters in the South China Sea, off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, cover a vast area. These waters cover a total of 34, 371 square nautical miles (about 117, 892 square kilometers) of sea surface,

of which 7,095 square nautical miles (about 24,265 square kilometers) are territorial seas. The sea is blessed with prodigious amounts of demersal (bottom dwelling) and pelagic (surface dwelling) species.4 This is a significant reason why the area has attracted foreign fishing vessels. However, during the northeast monsoon between the months of November and March annually, the sea condition is always very rough. It reduces local fishing activities to minimal but it does not deter foreign fishing vessels from encroaching into Malaysia's fisheries waters. Likewise, law enforcement

Table 2. Sighting of Illegal Fishing Activities of Foreign Fishing Vessels in Malaysia's Fisheries Waters by Geographical Area (2000 - 2004)




Year/ Localities

Straits of Malacca

South China Sea

Sarawak

Sabah

Total

2000

72

162

17

141

392

2001

135

88

109

541

873

2002

122

257

183

120

682

2003

110

264

184

114

672

2004

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

Total

439

771

493

916

2,619
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