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|A Malaysia Coast Guard ship - Illustrative image (Source: The Star)|
Kuala Lumpur – Thirteen foreign fishing vessels had been sunk after they were seized for encroaching Malaysian waters as of July 2020, Deputy Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Che Abdullah Mat Nawi said on July 26.
He stressed that encroachment by foreign fishing boats is a major concern to the ministry as this has a negative impact on the Malaysian fishing industry and the economic losses is estimated to be worth 6 billion RM (1.4 billion USD) a year.
The boats were sunk as a warning to foreign fishermen not to intrude into the country's waters, he added.
According to him, with the amended Fisheries Bill 2019 approved by Parliament, the maximum fine for a captain or owner of a foreign vessel caught trespassing into Malaysian waters has been increased to 6 million RM from 1 million RM while the penalty for every crew member has risen from 100,000 RM to 600,000 RM.
The Malaysian Government is committed to the fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, he emphasised.