KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — The government is committed to reducing the dependence on foreign labour in the fisheries industry by providing programmes, initiatives and facilities to encourage the involvement of locals.
The Department of Fisheries (DOF), in a statement, said that the government had allocated RM150 million to the Vessel Modernisation and Capture Mechanisation Programme for the transformation of traditional fishermen into deep sea fishing through the acquisition of modern high-tech vessels.
“Entrepreneurs have the opportunity to provide comfortable accommodation facilities as well as digital communications to attract local workers.
“In addition, the applicant gets financing of up to 90 per cent of the cost of modern vessel construction projects with an interest rate of 3.75 per cent for a period of 10 years through the Fishery Boat Financing Scheme (SPBP-i) from Agrobank,” it said.
In the meantime, through the PenjanaKerjaya 2.0 programme, deep sea fishing vessel operators can take the opportunity to use attractive incentives under the scheme to attract local workers who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19.
Apart from that, youths also have the opportunity to undergo training at the Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Fisheries College, in Perak and the Malaysian Fisheries Academy in Terengganu, the cost of which is fully borne by the government, including training, accommodation and meals as well as an allowance of RM200 per month.
The department also said that the Covid-19 pandemic affected fish landing due to a decrease in the number of vessels operating at sea.
Last year fish landing decreased by five per cent compared with 2019, with a total landing of 1.385 million metric tonnes.
It is clear that the decrease in the number of deep sea vessel operations has resulted in a reduction of 50,683 metric tonnes of fish nationwide, a decrease of eight per cent compared with 2019.
For Kelantan, fish landing has declined by 24 per cent, from 56,790 metric tonnes in 2019 to only 43,070 metric tonnes recorded last year.