EMPTY NETS: 3,000 fishermen along the Muar-Bagan coast say they are not catching enough fish to survive
MUAR: DESPITE the sunny skies in the Straits of Malacca, about 3,000 fishermen along the Muar-Bagan coast returned at noon with a poor catch.
"Although the sky was clear, the windy weather stirred up the water and made it muddy," said fisherman Lee Kim Hui.
"I lowered 130 nets and only caught 14 fish which were sold for RM180 at the wet market."
Lee said the income from the catch was insufficient to meet the expenses incurred for the trip which totalled RM200, including fuel, and food and drink for two assistants.
Another fisherman, Ng Cheng Huat, said he had sustained losses for more than two months because of poor catch.
"There are virtually no fish. I often catch so few fish, they sell for less than RM100 in the market," he said.
Fisherman Kasim Ahmad, who works alone using a sampan to catch small fish and prawns in mangrove swamps, said he made between RM40 and RM70 daily, and this was enough to meet his needs.
Muar-Batu Pahat Fishermen's Association president Ser Boon Huat called on fishermen to pay attention to wind and weather reports issued by the Meterological Department, Department of Environment and other relevant authorities.
He said the Straits of Malacca was not affected by haze, but the situation could change if the Sumatran forest fires continued and the wind changed direction.
Ser advised fishermen to drink more water and wear face masks, if necessary.
"Elderly fishermen who have respiratory problems, especially asthma, should seek medical help."