Dept to enforce annual three-month marine tiger prawn harvesting ban in Miri region

Sarawak Marine Fisheries Department Region 3 chief Rizwan Nordin (left) presents a close season notice to a stakeholder witnessed by Ting (centre).

MIRI (July 13): The Sarawak Marine Fisheries Department will ban tiger prawn harvesting from the South China Sea in the Miri region for three months annually starting next month under its Kuala Baram Tiger Prawn Refugia Close Season programme.

The programme covering 852 square km in Kuala Baram seeks to replenish marine tiger prawn breeding stocks during the breeding season between August and October.

Deputy Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Datuk Sebastian Ting, who launched the programme in Kampung Piasau Utara today, said it is unique as it is the only tiger prawn refugium in Malaysia.

“This project is part of the regional South China Sea Fisheries Refugia project under SEAFDEC (Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center), UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), GEF (Global Environment Facility) and could possibly increase harvests within five to 10 years,” he said during the ceremony, which also saw the presentation of appointment certificates to 13 Miri District fisheries network leaders (KJP).

The programme seeks sustainability and higher harvests in coming years as each mature female tiger prawn can produce up to 500,000 eggs during the breeding season.

Ting said it follows engagement with stakeholders since 2018.

He pointed out that the Bintawa Fisheries Research Institute has found Miri could potentially produce 23 metric tonnes of tiger prawns annually, worth about RM1.6 million.

Records show that 91.61 tonnes of tiger prawns worth RM6.76 million were landed between 2015 and 2021.

On the appointment of KJP, Ting said they played an important role in facilitating the department’s delivery system to fishermen and other stakeholders.

There are currently 51 KJP appointed under Region 3, including 13 in Miri District, with the department to make new appointments for the term 2023 to 2025.

During the ceremony, close season notices and prawn measuring callipers were also presented to owners or representatives of fishing vessels and boats operating in Zone A, B, and C.

According to the Fisheries Department, the callipers are for the fishermen or Zone C trawling vessel owners to measure the size of female prawns in order to release undersized catches as required under the regulations.

Malaysia’s other refugium under the programme is in Johor for lobsters.

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