KUALA LUMPUR — February 25, 2019: The lack of internet coverage at sea was not the only reason why some fishermen were skeptical of the government’s plan to introduce a mobile application that supposedly enable them to sell their catches while at sea.
Contrary to the contention of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub that the application can help boost their income, the fishermen said they simply could not see how it may realistically help them.
“This plan, it doesn’t quite make sense,” said 33-year-old fisherman, Mohamad Shaari Ibrahim, “In what way will this app boost our income? Every time we docked, the fishmongers will, without fail, buy our catches. Can this app increase our catches?”
Echoing similar view as the Kuala Kedah-based Shaari, was Kubang Rotan fisherman, Abdul Majid Hamdi, 46, who said that the simplest way for the government to raise fishermen’s income is to implement more cost-cutting measures for them.
“If Salahuddin is really serious about helping us, then he can do so by increasing fuel subsidies for our boats, or install more ‘tukuns’ (artificial reefs) to increase our catch.
“Some of the poorer fishermen should be given a portable fishing sonar. That way, they can save fuel as the device can pinpoint the location of fishes. This fishfinder device is not that expensive, as I bought mine for less than RM300 at Shopee,” said Majid.
Malaysian fishermen currently enjoy a diesel subsidy of RM1.65 per litre, which current retail price is RM2.18.
Another fishermen, who prefers to be known only as Shidi, said it would be more helpful if the authorities could stop foreign trawlers from encroaching into Malaysian waters.
“I don’t know how they managed to avoid getting caught but one can definitely spot them entering our waters, pillaging our fishes which in turn lowers our income.
“At times, these trawlers also destroyed our fish traps. Each fish trap costs about RM170. I usually placed about 60 traps and at one time, half of it were destroyed. You do the math,” said the 37-year-old from Kuala Perlis.