Two fishing trawlers with 12 foreign fishermen were detained by the State Fishery Department enforcent officers for encroaching into the state waters yesterday. (pix by MOHD SYAFIQ RIDZUAN AMBAK)

KUALA TERENGGANU: Two fishing trawlers with 12 foreign fishermen were detained by the State Fishery Department enforcent officers for encroaching into the state waters yesterday.

The first trawler was detained about 6.5 nautical miles from Kuala Abang beach in Dungun at 4.30pm while the second boat about 9.3 nautical miles from Rantau Abang beach also in Dungun.

The department deputy director Rusman Rusdy said following a tip-off from a member of the Fishery Volunteer Squad, the enforcement team traced the trawlers.

"The first trawler from Pahang had eight Vietnam fishermen while the second boat from Terengganu had four Thai fishermen," he said, adding that both boats possessed a valid licence.

Rusman said the boats however had trespassed the economic zone and were found fishing in the prohibited areas," he added.

“The crew aged between 20 and 50, were caught red handed. We seized thousands of kgs of fish worth RM20,000 as well as fishing equipment worth RM1million from the boats," he told reporters at a press conference held at the department head office in Chendering.

Also at the press conference was the department's Prohibited Resource unit chief Hairul Affendy.

Rusman said the trawlers had been towed to the Chendering Perikanan jetty for further investigation under the Fishery Act 1985 and the Immigration Act 1958.

Meanwhile in Bachok, Kelantan Fisheries Department seized five local fishing vessel and detained its 15 crew members for conducting activities beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) .

Its director Anuar Salam Sulaiman said the five vessel were conducting fishing activities one nautical mile off Tok Bali beach when they were detained about 10am.

He said the department also seized several metric tonnes of fish worth thousands of ringgit from the five vessel.

"These boats are supposed to conduct fishing activities two nautical miles off Tok Bali beach but they were found to have violating their permit by conducting activities at the area (one nautical mile)," he told a Press conference at the department's jetty in Tawang here.

Anuar said the crew members including five tekongs, all locals aged between 20 and 40, were being held for further investigation.

He said the department believed more local fishing boats would conduct activities at the EEZ due to the squid season.

"We have received many reports that local fishermen take advantage of the squid season to lay their nets near the beach because they knew that a lot of squid will be near the area.

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