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Visit to Marine Fishery Resources Development and Management Department (MFRDMD), Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), Kuala Terengganu

30 January 2018

Fisheries crimes are among the major issues requiring solutions by national agencies and law enforcement systems. Although vessels are detained and illegal fishers compounded - with varying degrees of severity - it does little to eliminate or prevent “fish laundering”. This situation is compounded by illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing by domestic and foreign fishers who range from territorial waters to the high seas.

In regard to the non-traditional maritime security domain, the linkages between IUU fishing and other forms of crimes are widely recognized as fishing vessels are used for human trafficking, piracy, and the smuggling of drugs and weapons. Addressing this situation calls for action not only by national fisheries agencies but by all stakeholders involved as the issue transgresses jurisdictional boundaries and require shared responsibilities among agencies to improve the security of the ocean.

In line with this, MIMA met with the Marine Fishery Resources Development and Management Department (MFRDMD) of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) to discuss approaches to address fishery crimes and marine resource management. Established in 1992, MFRDMD has since grown to encompass a variety of disciplines from biological studies, conservation, and fishery stock assessment and management.

 

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 The discussion between MFRDMD/ SEAFDEC representatives and Norsyihan Jamal from MIMA’s Centre for Maritime Security and Diplomacy sought to identify shortcoming encountered by ASEAN countries in combating IUU fishing. In 2011, SEAFDEC initiated a project on the promotion of fishing license, boats registration, and port state measures to address this issue. Mr Abdul Razak of the Fishery Oceanography and Resource Enhancement Section shared on the initiatives undertaken to counter unauthorized fishing in Southeast Asia and promote sustainable fisheries. He emphasized the importance of fully enforcing the “ASEAN Guidelines for Preventing the Entry of Fish and Fishery Products from IUU Fishing Activities into the Supply Chain” as a means to eradicate fisheries crimes.

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From left: Mr Abdul Razak, Raja Bidin Raja Hassan (Chief of SEAFDEC/MFRDMD), Norsyihan Jamal and Mazalina Ali (Head of Fishery Resources Management Advisory Section)

Norsyihan Jamal also used the occasion to discuss fish landing strategies, opportunities, and challenges for Malaysia in penetrating the EU fisheries market and the value of multi-stakeholder cooperation in fishery management.

MIMA expresses its gratitude to SEAFDEC/MFRMD for this discussion opportunity. The visit provided new insights in understanding how fisheries can be effectively managed at the national, regional, and sub-regional levels.

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