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Three Trawlers Detained After Destroying Artificial Reefs off Malaysian Coast

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TERENGGANU, Malaysia -- The Terengganu Fisheries Department on Friday detained three trawlers for encroaching the marine parks off Pulau Kapas, Marang and destroying about 50 artificial reefs costing more than RM250,000 as well as coral reefs in the area.

The detention of the trawlers from Pahang and Kelantan in an operation between 9am and 10am on Friday had also averted a ruckus between local fishermen and those detained, said its Director Munir Mohd Nawi.

He said 21 fishermen from the three trawlers would be charged under Section 8(B) of the Fisheries Act 1985. They face a RM20,000 fine or six months' jail on conviction.

The department was looking into the matter seriously as the three Zone 3 trawlers were fishing inshore when they were supposed to operate at least 12 nautical miles off the coast, he told reporters at Cendering jetty here Saturday.

He said the vessels equipped with a global positioning satellite system were caught hauling almost three tonnes of harvest worth about RM15,000.

"We have to be firm because if the encroachment continues, we will lose our fish resources," he said, adding that Pulau Kapas waters are a popular fishing ground as they are rich in marine life.

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