A. Ali, R. Ali, M. Nasir I. Salleh
Marine Fishery Resources Development and Management Department
Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC)
21080 Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Malaysia lies in the tropics (Lat. 1 – 8°N, Long. 100 – 119°E), and consists of Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak (Figure 1). Peninsular Malaysia, as the name suggests, is bounded by the sea on most sides except in the north where it is attached to mainland Asia via the Isthmus of Kra of Thailand. The island of Borneo, located 1200km to the east of the Peninsular across the South China Sea, contains two other Malaysian states: Sabah and Sarawak (or East Malaysia). Sabah occupies the northern part of Borneo, while Sarawak is located entirely on the west of the island. The east coast of Peninsular Malaysia faces the South China Sea, as with Sarawak, and the western part of Sabah. The west coast of the Peninsular, however, is bordered mainly by the Straits of Malacca, and some portion of the Andaman Sea up north, and the Java Sea down south.
Map of Malaysia
2. THE RESOURCE
2.1 Status of resource knowledge
Information regarding the sharks and rays in Malaysia is still rather scanty and inadequate. Few studies and not too many publications deal with them and they are generally perceived as dangerous animals. Although the taxonomy of many of Malaysia's elasmobranchs has been elaborated at length, information on their biological parameters and social habits, at least for those found in Malaysian waters, is still lacking.
Cantor (1849) published a catalogue, which outlines the taxonomy of 28 species of sharks and rays in Malaysian waters, while Scott (1959) described some 294 marine fishes, of which 25 are sharks and rays. Mohammad Shaari (1971) identified six species of sharks and rays from the catch of trawlers operating in Penang waters. Mohsin and Ambak (1996) provide further accounts on the taxonomy, distribution, biology and fishery for 39 species of sharks and rays.
Manjaji (1997) described 32 species of sharks and 41 species of rays of which 26 were newly recorded in Sabah waters and comprised 14 species of sharks and 12 species of rays, and an entirely new freshwater shark species, the Kinabatangan river shark (Glyphis sp. - pending confirmation), during her 18-month elasmobranch biodiversity study in Sabah from January 1996 - June 1997. The project also recorded the presence of a rare giant freshwater stingray identified as Himantura chaophraya.
From various reports relating to the elasmobranchs in Malaysia, Ahmad (1998) believed at least 12 families of sharks (comprising around 48 species) and 11 families of rays (41 species) inhabit Malaysian waters. The 12 families of sharks that occur are the Carcharhinidae (23 species), Hemigalidae (3 species), Hemiscyllidae (5 species), Heterodontotidae (1 species), Orectolobidae (1 species), Rhincodontidae (1 species), Scyliorhinidae (3 species), Sphyrnidae (4 species), Squalidae (2 species), Stegostomatide (1 species), Squantinidae (1 species) and Triakidae (3 species).
2.2 Distribution of the fishery
The Malaysian shark fishery, as part of the demersal fishery, stretches throughout all of Malaysia's waters, from the coasts to the edge of Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The proclamation of this zone has extended the fishery waters to an area of 162 000nm2.On the east coast of the Peninsular, Sarawak, and west Sabah, the distance can extend up to 200nm. On the west coast, however, the fishery is limited to the narrowness of the Straits of Malacca, half of which belongs to Malaysia, and the other half to Indonesia. In the north, the fishery extends into parts of the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean. For the east coast, Sarawak, and west Sabah, the South China Sea provides an ideal ground for demersal fisheries and is the main area for exploiting the shark resources. The fishery for east Sabah, which faces the Sulawesi Sea, shares all available resources with Indoneia and the Philippines.
2.3 Shark's composition in the fishery
Abu Talib (1997) examined the relative species composition of sharks in the demersal fishery from trawl surveys conducted by the Fisheries Research Institute on the west and east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the period 1970–1995. In these surveys, as with most other studies, shark specimens that were caught were aggregated into a single category called “sharks.”
On the east coast, the relative species composition fluctuated, but generally the average shark composition in the total catch was less than 1%, the years of 1980 and 1988 being exceptions. On the west coast, the average composition of sharks was generally between 1 and 3% of the total catch, except for the 1981 and 1995 surveys. Table 1 gives the percentages of sharks in the total catches taken by these surveys on the east and west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
Albert (1994) reported on the species composition of sharks caught using longlines in the untrawlable areas of Sarawak. These are areas where trawls are unable to fish due to the presence of reefs, wrecks, steep undulating grounds, rocky bottom, or offshore structures associated with the petroleum industry. In these areas sharks may constitute up to 13% of the total catch. High catches were recorded in an area close to the Natuna Islands, while the lowest was obtained near the Spratly, but this has been attributed to bad weather. Biusing (1997) reported that the elasmobranch fishery in Sabah, during the period 1991–1994, contributed a landing of 13 370t (2.4% of total landings) valued at a wholesale price of RM 13.5 million (fixed exchange rate from 1998 at RM3.80 = $1.00).
The most common shark species found in Malaysian waters is the Indian dogshark (Scoliodon laticaudus Muller & Henle) (Pathansali et al. 1974; Mohsin and Ambak 1996) of the family Carcharinidae. It is normally caught using gears such as bottom trawls, gill nets, handlines and longlines. This small harmless creature normally forms schools and dwells on sandy bottoms near coral reef areas. It is a commercially important species as its meat is edible and its fins are sold to restaurants at high prices. It is common in the lower reaches of tropical rivers and has even been found in lakes.
|Year||East Coast (%)||West Coast (%)|
|1973||0.25 (southern parts only)||NA|
NA = not available.
Table 2 shows the total landings of sharks in Malaysia, during the period 1977–1995. The amount landed appeared to fluctuate from year to year, but within an acceptable range, shows the fishery to generally be on the increase with landings of 5123t in 1977, up from 8437t in 1995. The data also show that sharks constitute a mere 1% of the total fish landed.
|Total landings||Sharks||Percentage (%)|
|1990||1 002 576||4810||0.5|
|1992||1 104 988||7240||0.7|
|1993||1 154 557||6294||0.5|
|1994||1 181 763||6889||0.6|
|1995||1 245 117||8437||0.7|
Source: Fishery Statistical Bulletin for the South China Sea Area, 1977–1995,Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre (SEAFDEC).
Another common bottom dweller, the slender bambooshark, Chiloscyllium indicum (Gmelin) may be found in coral reef area and is reportedly caught using traps, hook-and-line, and bottom trawls. This sluggish slow-moving shark, which inhabits the coastal waters, feeds on bottom fishes and crustaceans. It is seldom seen in the markets due to its meat being unsuitable as table food, but the fins can still be marketed.
Some endangered shark species found in Malaysia, that are listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals 1996, include the blacktip shark, Carcharhinus limbatus (Valenciennes), the sandbar shark, C. plumbeus (Nardo), and the whale shark, Rhincodon typus (Smith). Sightings of these species have also been reported at times in the waters of coral reef areas.
2.4 Associated species - bycatch or discards
Fishers in Malaysia do not specifically target sharks for capture, but normally catch them as bycatch, with the more important targeted bony species. Once caught however, the sharks are not discarded, but are brought back whole to the port where the meat is sold for a low price and the fins sold at a much higher price due to their higher demand.
2.5 Development and current status of means of prosecuting the fishery
2.5.1 The harvesting process
Figure 2 shows the landing composition of sharks by the different types of fishing gear in 1996 for the west and east coast of Peinsualr Malaysia, East Malaysia (Figures 2a, 2b and 2c, respectively), and for the whole waters of Malaysia combined (Figure 2d)
Landing composition of sharks by the different types of gear in 1996 for (a) West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, (b) East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, (c) East Malaysia, and (d) the whole of Malaysia
Trawl nets are the major gear used to harvest shark in Malaysia and in 1996 about 50% of all sharks landed in Malaysia were caught by trawl. Harvesting of sharks by trawl is more common on the west and east coast of Peninsular Malaysia compared to East Malaysia. Gill nets are the second most important gear used to exploit sharks. This gear took about 33% of the total shark landing in 1996. Harvesting by this gear is more common in Eastern Malaysia in Peninsular Malaysia. The third gear most commonly used gear is hook and line. The 1996 figures indicate around 16% of the total shark landing is taken by hook and line. This method is greatly favoured in the waters of East Malaysia, as well as on the east cost of the Peninsular, but is less popular in the waters on the west coast. Other gears that are known to catch sharks are purse seines, seine nets, and traps. However, the catch by these gears is minimal, normally less than 5%. Figure 3 shows the historical changes in the catch composition of sharks by the diffrent gears for Peninsular Malaysia, at 5-year intervals, from 1965 to 1995
Changes in the catch composition of sharks for Peninsular Malaysia by the different gears from 1965 to 1995
Trawls were first introduced in Malaysia in the early 1960s. Prior to their introduction, sharks were mainly caught using gill nets and by hook and line. In 1965, with use of trawls still in its infancy, sharks caught by this gear constituted just 4% of the total shark landings. During this period, the main gears used to catch sharks were still gill nets and hook and line. In the next five years, to 1970, the relative amount of sharks caught by trawlers increased to 37%. After slightly a decade since their introduction (to 1975), trawls have become the main fishing gear used to catch sharks in Malaysia.
2.5.2 Evolution of the catch
The 1996 landing of sharks in Malaysia was about 8080t, of which 29.4% were from Peninsular Malaysia, and 70.6% from East Malaysia. The evolution of catch is as shown in Figure 4. Records of shark landings in the Peninsular can be traced back as early as 1963. However, for the early stages, only the combined catch from the west and east coast is given. Separate figures for these two areas are only available from 1977. Details of shark landings in East Malaysia are also only available from this year.
The historical evolution in sharks landing for the different areas in Malaysia Source: Annual Fisheries Statistics, 1961–1996, Department of Fisheries, Malaysia
From these data, landings of sharks for the west coast of the Peninsular appear to be on a slight decline. Landings for the east coast, over the past 20 years appear to fluctuate. For East Malaysia, shark landings have demonstrated a drastic increase since 1991. Subsequently, the overall trend in shark landings for the whole country still appears to be on the increase.
2.5.3 Fleet characteristics, evolution of the fleet and fishing effort
The fleet characteristics, evolution of the fleet and fishing effort relating to shark harvesting in Malaysia may be reviewed from the aspects of fishing gear and fishing vessels. From the aspect of fishing gear, significant changes occured in the 1960s when synthetic fibre and trawls were first introduced into the Malaysian fishery (Mohd Ibrahim 1997). The new fibres gradually replaced the traditional natural fibre and the new material has a number of advantages when used to make fishing nets. The new netting material gained popularity very rapidly because of its superiority and by 1962 fishing nets made from synthetic materials were used throughout the major fishing areas, starting from the west coast and followed by the east coast as well as in East Malaysia.
Trawl nets were successfully introduced in 1963 starting with a single boat of about 20m in length. By July 1966, 10 boats on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia were converted to trawlers, and by December of the same year, 40 trawlers were operating in the coastal waters (Mohd Ibrahim 1987). During the following 5-year period, a total of 1709 trawl licences were issued. Use of trawls has spread rapidly throughout the country and they have become a major method of catching demersal fish including sharks.
Introduction of motorized vessels to facilitate fishing began some time after the end of the First World War. Mechanized fishing vessels have been in use in the coastal waters of the west coast from as early as the 1930s, and were introduced to the east coast in 1950. East Malaysia developed such vessels probably about ten years later. In 1960, about 38% of the fishing vessels in Peninsular Malaysia were already mechanized, but in East Malaysia the number were less than 5%.
The percentages of mechanized fishing vessels in Peninsular Malaysia have been increasing steadily to 74% in 1970, 82% in 1980, and 97% in 1990. In East Malaysia, the number of mechanized fishing vessels rose rapidly from a mere 5% in 1960 to 78% in 1970, and a gradual increase to 80% in 1980, and 95% in 1990. In 1996, a total of 30 592 fishing vessels in Malaysia were mechanized of which 5913 were trawlers, 12 166 were gill net vessels, and 1779 were hook and line fishing vessels.
Besides mechanization of the fishing vessels, changes also occurred in the vessel size. especially for trawlers. In the early 1970s, most of the trawlers were small, of less than 40GRT, a few were medium-sized (40–69GRT), but there was no vessel exceeding 70GRT. In the 1980s, 10 trawlers of size greater than 70 GRT had been licenced. By 1990, the number of these super - trawlers had increased to 184. In 1996, a total of 565 fishing vessels of size 70GRT and above were licenced. The majority of these were trawlers.
The fishing capability of the different types of gear, as well as the general increase in size of trawlers, which actually mean a resultant increase in fishing efficiency, has resulted in a shifting of fishing areas for sharks. Gill nets and hook and lines have long been classified as traditional gears. This means the gears are allowed to fish in coastal waters less than 5nm from shore. Small trawlers. of less than 40GRT are allocated the coastal waters beyond the 5nm limit. Medium sized trawlers (40– 69GRT) are required to fish in waters slightly further away, at least 12nm from the shoreline. Trawlers exceeding 70GRT are classed as offshore fishing vessels and are only allowed to operate in waters beyond 30nm from the coast.
Thus, we conclude that before the 1960s, most of the sharks landed actually came from coastal waters of less than 5nm from the shore using traditional fishing gears, such as gill nets and hook and line. In the 1960s and 1970s, the majority of sharks caught probably came from waters, of distances 5 to 30nm from the shore and were caught by small and medium sized trawlers. In the 1980s and 1990s, some sharks were also caught in waters beyond 30nm by offshore trawlers of 70GRT and above.
There are no shark processing plants in Malaysia, due probably to irregularity in supply of the raw resources, which is a major concern to successfully running these plants. Shark processing is, however, carried out as a cottage industry, mostly by the families of fishermen or stakeholders. The meat is sold fresh, or dried, at almost all the major markets in Malaysia. A small number of shark's jaws, and even teeth, are sold as rare souvenir items to enthusiasts. Cartilage, and some other discarded parts of the fish, are used as bait for fish and crab traps. Small sharks, as well as those that are non-edible or unsuitable for bait are sold to fish mill factories for fertilisers (Chen 1996).
Mohsin and Ambak (1996) reported that only five shark species are locally accepted as table food. Both meat and fins from species such as Carcharhinus falciformes, C. limbatus, C. macloti, C. sorrah (small size only), and Scoliodon laticaudus are in great demand and prices of these species are increasing. Other species also preferred locally for their fins, especially among the Chinese, are C.melanopterus, C. sealei, Chiloscyllium indicum, C. punctatum, Squalus japonicus, Stegortoma fasciatum, Sphyrna lewini, S. mokarran and S. zygaena.
A number of coastal communities in Sabah are known to be predominantly, if not wholly. dependent on the sea for their subsistence and income. These families are generally too poor to afford other sources of protein except fish. Trading dried shark fins, and to a lesser extent the dried shark and ray meat, are of particular importance for bringing considerable income to these communities. In Sabah, fins are normally from small sharks, less than one metre in length. Fresh fins and those which have been processed, or simply dried, can be easily found at almost all major markets in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Semporna and Tawau.
The Malaysian Annual Fisheries Statisties do not provide specific information on the different species of sharks that are caught and processed. Some data are nevertheless available under the general headings of “Frozen dogfish and other sharks”, “Shark's fin salted but not dried or smoked and in brine”, “Shark's fin dried, whether or not salted but not smoked”, and “Shark's fin”.
The 1994 Annual Fisheries Statistics reported Malaysia to have imported frozen shark meat from New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and exported some of the processed items to Taiwan. Malaysia also imported shark fins and shark fin products, from countries such as Australia, China, Chile, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Thailand, and exported some of the processed fins back to Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong, Brunei, and Singapore. Since 1977, Malaysia has always imported more of the shark products than her export. Table 3 gives the import and export volumes of shark fin products (fish, dried, salted or smoked) in terms of weight and value.
|Volume (t)||Value||Volume (t)||Value|
|1977||209||838 000||13||20 000|
|1978||422||863 000||25||64 000|
|1979||272||1 150 000||16||117 000|
|1980||446||1169 000||41||161 000|
|1981||2 608||1 818 000||12||194 000|
|1982||456||1 887 000||103||204 000|
|1983||642||1 862 000||41||148 000|
|1984||285||1 409 000||9||63 000|
|1985||172||944 000||7||49 000|
|1986||78||367 000||8||25 000|
|1987||69||347 000||18||101 000|
|1988||128||414 000||9||161 000|
|1989||96||582 000||7||173 000|
|1990||102||568 000||8||133 000|
|1991||112||517 000||5||22 000|
|1992||209||736 000||2||28 000|
|1993||165||944 000||30||1 413 000|
|1994||238||774 000||19||126 000|
|1995||123||749 000||22||169 000|
2.6.2 Revenues from the fishery
Ex-vessel prices received by fishermen are as follows:
|i.||West Coast of Perninsular Malaysia||RM 1.50 - RM 2.50/kg|
|ii.||Coast of Peninsular Malaysia||RM 2.00 - RM 4.00/kg|
|iii.||Sarawak and Sabah||RM 1.00 - RM 1.50/kg|
The average price for small sizes of shark is only RM 0.5 - RM2.5/fish. Common prices in the market are:
|i.||whole shark bodies with fin attached||RM 0.5 - RM2.5/fish|
|ii.||West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia||RM 2.00 - RM 3.50/kg|
|iii.||East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia||RM 3.50 - 5.00/kg|
|iv.||Sabah and Sarawak||RM 1.50- RM 2.50/kg|
For sharks without fins, all sizes.
|Sabah and Sarawak||RM 1.00-2.00/kg|
For fins only, ex- vessel prices:
|i.||Wet fin (Rhycobatus djiddensis Forsskal) - big fins only and from fish>80kg/fish|
|Rm 250.00- RM 300.00/kg|
|ii.||Wet fins (other species - big fin*)||RM 150.00- RM 200.00/kg|
|iii.||Wet fins (other species - small fin)||RM 50.00- RM 100.00/kg|
|iv.||Dry fins (Rhyncobatus dijddensis) (big fins)||RM 500.00- RM 550.00/kg|
|v.||Dry fins (other species - big fins)||RM 300.00 - RM 450.00/kg|
|vi.||Dry fins (other species-small fin) - Various prices but usually less than RM 250/kg|
“Big fin” for other shark species usually refers to shark of more than 20kg/fish and “small fin” to sharks less than 20kg/fish.
The shark fisheries have historically provided a relatively small contribution to the overall fisheries production in Malaysia. From data compiled by SEAFDEC during the period 1977–1995 (Table 4), the value of the shark fishery is, however, on the increase. The fishery was estimated at $1 036 000 in 1977 and increased to $6 831 000 in 1995. The average value of the shark fishery in relation to the overall fishery was however still less than 1%
2.7 Economics of the fishery
No data are presently available on the economics of the shark fisheries. The low economic emphasis that is currently placed on sharks, due probably to their occurrence as a fishery bycatch is not reflective of the shark's true economic potential in other marine activities such as recreational fishing and ecotourism.
Recreational fishing is becoming more important in Malaysia, and a million anglers are estimated to participate in this activity (Nik Mustapha 1997). The relatively few occurrences of bi game fish in Malaysian waters, like marlins, has driven the sport fishers to look for new target species and sharks are being mentioned as a possibility, due probably to their spirited struggles against capture when hooked by anglers. To catch marlins, anglers need to go far out to the open water, but this is not the case with some sharks, which are also found in considerable numbers in inshore areas.
|1992||3837||1 014 635||0.4|
|1993||3184||1 039 314||0.3|
|1994||5511||1 127 204||0.5|
|1995||6831||1 242 039||0.5|
In ecotourism, snorkelling and diving among the corals and fish, which include sharks, has a huge potential for economic development. These activities are fast gaining in popularity, and are rapidly expanding following the proclamation of most of the island resorts as marine park areas. The presence of sharks at established diving sites is a strong lure for most divers, which may then support other economic activities such as boat chartering, tourist guides, rental of diving equipment, etc. Feeding baby sharks found in the shallow waters, such as at the Pulau Payar Marine Park, has now become a unique source of delight for tourists (Ahmad 1998).
2.8 The fisheries workforce
To date, no fishers are specifically involved in the commercial exploitation of sharks (Abu Talib 1997). For trawlers, which are the main commercial gear used to exploit the demersal resources, which include sharks, the number of fisherman is usually 3–5 per boat. Other important gears include drift nets (3 persons/boat), hook-and-line (8 persons/boat), portable traps (3 person/boat), and purse seine (15–25 persons/boat). These people work on a full time basis.
The workforce in the Malaysian fisheries is now dwindling, partly due to higher salaries offered by other work sectors. Another reason is the general improvement in fishing technology, such as the recent introduction of the net hauler on the purse seiner, which permits using a smaller work force. So severe has this problem become, that it has even resulted in the use of foreign fishermen to fill the vacancies.
3. MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES
3.1 The fisheries within the context of national fisheries policies
The development of the fishing industry in Malaysia closely followed the guidelines of the National Agriculture Policy (Mohd Mazlan 1997). The policy is intended to bring about changes in the industry so that it will evolve into a commercial, modern and progressive sector. To fulfil its mission, the Department of Fisheries Malaysia has identified four broad objectives under the marine capture fisheries sector that need to be achieved:
However, the policy is also sensitive to environmental and socio-economic need for a balance between fishing effort, sustainability of resources, and environmental conservation. To achieve this balance, various conservation and management strategies were implemented, which among other objectives include the following:
Limit fishing effort through the issuance of fishing gear and fishing vessel licences.
Restructuring of ownership patterns of fishing licences.
Management of a zoning system that gives exclusive rights to traditional fishermen to fish in Zone A (within 5nm from the coast), while other fishing zones that may be fished are based on the tonnage of fishing vessels and type of fishing gears used.
Relocation or deployment of fishermen to other economic activities such as aquaculture, ecotourism or other related activities.
Conservation and rehabilitation of the marine ecosystem through the establishment of marine parks and artificial reefs.
Continuous research and development, particularly in the monitoring of resource potential, and development of eco-friendly fishing technology.
Previously, an owner of a fishing boat did not have to be the operator on the vessel and in many cases, people owned a large number of fishing licences and fishing boats. Recently, the rules changed so that every vessel must be operated by its owner with the consequence that an individual may hold only one licence and operate only one boat- an owner-operator policy.
3.2 Objectives for the management of the shark fisheries
There is nothing in the policy statements, or in the management strategy of the Department of Fisheries Malaysia, that explicitly expresses the need for management of shark fisheries. This is understandable given the nature of tropical multi-species fisheries, as in Malaysia, where management is best achieved for fish populations as a whole, and it would be impossible to focus on individual fisheries, or specific mono-species stocks of fish. Further, sharks have never featured strongly in the landings of marine capture fisheries, either in terms of weight or value, their contribution being a mere 1% of the overall fish landings in Malaysia.
There is still a need for a comprehensive understanding of the biology and ecology of sharks especially in areas pertaining to their population dynamics, critical habitat requirements during their life cycle and conservation needs - factors that are crucial for their successful management. The absence of such studies in Malaysian waters, both for the dominant and threatened species, means that no suitable management guidelines can yet be formulated (Ahmad 1999).
3.3 Marine recreational fishing regulations
The importance in the conservation and management of the shark has been realized because of its biological characteristics which limits its capacity to recover from overfishing. Efforts are now underway to manage these resources through recreational fishing regulations. Besides the issue of recreational fishing, management steps are also taken in recognition that sharks have significant ecotourism value, particularly for the ardent divers, and recreational anglers. After a period of protracted discussions with the relevant interest groups, which include the various anglers associations, tourist operators, non-governmental organisations, traders etc., the Department of Fisheries is now ready to implement this regulation. The Marine Recreational Fishing Regulations, promulgated under the Fisheries Act 1985, have already been approved by the Minister of Agriculture and will be implemented after they have been gazetted.
Under this regulation, recreational fishing may only be undertaken after a licence has been issued by the Director General of Fisheries. For the purpose of resource conservation, fish species are listed under the First Schedule, which prohibits them from being landed. Only catch and release fishing is allowed for these species. Included in the Schedule, are 6 species of sharks (from 9 fish species listed), as below:
|Chiloscyllium punctatum (Muller & Henle)||Brownhanded bambooshark|
|Chillloscyllium griseum (Muller & Henle)||Grey bambooshark, Ridgeb catshark|
|Stegostoma fasciatum (Hermann)||Cat shark, Zebra shark|
|Atelomycterus marmoratus (Bennett)||Coral catshark, Marble catshark|
|Heteroddontus zebra (Grey)||Zebra bullhead shark|
|Rhincodon typus (Smith)||Whale shark|
Chiloscyllium punctatum, C. griseum, Stegostoma fasciatum and Atelomycterus marmoratus are common being still found in relative abundance in inshore waters compared to those further offshore. These species are not used for food and are conserved to maintain the recreational fishery. They must be released when caught. This is not the case for the whale and zebra bullhead sharks which are rare. These species cannot be landed and must be released immediately if they are caught. They also are a great attraction to divers and anglers, especially the whale shark, which is regarded by many divers as a flagship species to be encountered among the group.
The whale shark, which is entirely a filter-feeder, eats plankton and very small fish and is especially present on the list because of its docility. Anglers fortunate enough to meet this fish might cause unwitting injury because of its harmlessness. It is also on the list of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals of 1996, and may be found in Malaysian coastal waters during the “shrimp (Acetes sp.) bloom” season which occurs from November to April. The zebra bullhead shark is a very rare species, with no record of its presence in the waters of the Peninsular, but it is still found at times in the waters of Sabah and Sarawak. The species has no commercial value.
There is a clear set of objectives for the management of the fishing industry in Malaysia, as mentioned above. Strategies that have been devised, and are currently being implemented by the Department of Fisheries, are deliberate steps to achieve management objectives. Support from all quarters is greatly needed and in this respect the expertise, skill and competence from the various stakeholder groups need to be harnessed and maintained.
Educational initiatives, directed at raising the public awareness in matters relating to the development of a prosperous fishing industry, are frequently undertaken by the department staff. In most of these activities, response from the target groups, which include the fishers and stakeholders, is good, and poses few problems.
4. MANAGEMENT POLICIES AND THE POLICY SETTING PROCESS
4.1 Identification and evaluation of policies
The Ministry of Agriculture, as part of the Government of Malaysia, is responsible for the setting up of management policies relating to agriculture and fishery. Policies adopted for implementation are the end results of efforts by the various agencies under the Ministry, whose task is that of policy formulation. These policies are then reviewed at intervals to ensure and monitor their effectiveness and suitability and they may undergo modifications to meet extant needs.
Although other agencies also exist under the Ministry in relation to fishery matters, the two most important that provide the lead are the Department of Fisheries Malaysia (DOFM) and the Malaysian Fisheries Development Board (MFDB). The DOFM has the responsibility in almost all important aspects of fisheries, from resource management enforcement, research and development, extension works, corporate planning to legislation. The MFDB undertakes the task of improving the socio-economic aspects of the fishermen and stakeholders, fish marketing, and the general management of the fishermen associations.
4.2 Policies adopted
The most important objective under consideration by the DOFM at present relates to the developing and managing the marine fishery resources to increase production through the rational exploitation of the natural resources, and also by various forms of aquaculture. The fisheries policy currently adopted is targeted towards the exploration and exploitation of resources in new areas in the offshore waters and expansion of aquaculture on a large-scale commercial basis. At the same time, Malaysia will continue to give great importance to the maintenance of the existing coastal fisheries. These are expected to contribute the bulk of marine fish landings and provide employment to a major proportion of the fishing labour force.
4.3.1 Resource access
The fishery resources that are available in Malaysian waters are not available to all, but are controlled and access is limited by the DOFM through a number of ways. First, only those licenced are allowed to fish, and for them, strict rules and procedures applied. These are printed on the permits issued and specify the mode of fishing, area, duration, the number of crew allowed and the permitted gear. A nominal sum that is dependent upon the type of gear and takes account of the generally low financial status of the fishing communities is charged by the Department. Community-based management, popular in some countries, is not yet implemented in Malaysia.
4.3.2 Gear restrictions
Some gear restrictions are set, in the form of allowable cod end mesh size (it should not be less than 38mm) and engine capacity, for the commercial gear like trawlers, to reduce their fishing power. The increase in the cod end mesh size helps to ensure that undersized fish and juveniles would be able to escape from the net, while large fish are still retained. Their effectiveness is however reduced during low tows as the end of the net tends to get clogged thus retaining a greater proportion of the smaller fish.
The annual licence fee varies according to the gears used, some of which are as follows:
|GRT||Malaysian-owned fishing boat (Ringgit Malaysia)||Foreign-owned fishing boat (Ringgit Malaysia)|
|>250||1 000||15 000|
|150–250||7 000||11 000|
|100–150||5 000||8 000|
|70–150||3 000||5 000|
|Longline/Hook and Line||2|
|Fish Traps (Per 20 Units)||2|
The allowable maximum strength of engine fitted for each category of boat size are as follows:
Commercial trawlers and Purse Seine:
|GRT||Maximum HP of engine allowed|
|>40||According to the rate imposed on the commercial gear|
Fishing methods that are known to be destructive to the fish resources and their environment are totally banned. These include dynamite and cyanide fishing, fishing using electric shocks, pair-trawling, and the push nets that were once popular in the nursery areas. The locally known pukat pari, a drift net with a mesh size of 10 inches, which was once used to catch rays and sharks has, since 1990, been banned as it harms turtles and some marine mammals. The banning of these gears nationwide helped to reduce the excessive exploitation of the large sharks and rays and provided some conservation of the breeding stocks.
4.3.3 Vessel regulations
Fishing vessels are categorised according to size (GRT), and allocated different fishing zones based on this size and mode of fishing. The main reason for adopting this policy is to reduce fishing conflicts between the traditional and commercial fishermen, and between different sized vessels, since the larger ones would have an added advantage in an increased fishing efficiency over the smaller vessels. Areas are defined as follows:
Zone A waters (less than 5nm from shore) are allocated for the traditional fishing gears such as portable and non-portable fishing traps, hook-and line, handline, gillnet, and the drift net. Commercial gears (i.e. trawlers, purse seiners) are not allowed to operate within this zone.
Zone B waters (5–12nm from shore) are normally reserved for commercial trawlers and purse seiners of less than 40 GRT. Vessels greater than this size are not allowed to fish in this zone, but the waters may still be accessed by vessels using traditional gears.
Zone C waters (12–30nm from shore) are reserved for commercial trawlers and purse seiners of less than 70GRT. This also includes the Zone B vessels. Vessels greater than this size are not allowed to fish in this zone, but the waters may still be accessed by the traditional gears.
Zone D (or C2) waters (over 30nm from shore) are open for all vessels, regardless of size or fishing method. This is the operating domain for commercial trawls and purse seines of size greater than 70 GRT.
4.3.4 Biological regulations
Besides the six listed species of sharks that are totally prohibited from being landed in Malaysia irrespective of size under the Marine Recreational Fishing Regulation (see Section 3.3), ten species of groupers under the Second Schedule are also prohibited from being landed if their size is less than the minimum marketable size of 26cm (total length). The Third Schedule under the Regulation provides protection for barramundi and ten species of snappers and prohibit their landing if their length is less than 23cm.
Few regulations now exist which are known to explicitly benefit the shark resources; the most recent is that related to recreational fishing. This expresses explicitly the need for conservation of a few species of sharks such that only catch and release fishing is allowed. Although other existing management measures are not directly aimed towards the conservation and management of the shark fisheries, their implementation, nevertheless, does provide some benefits for these resources.
Control in the allocation of fishery licences helps to regulate fishing effort, thus reducing the incidence of shark capture. The establishment of Marine Parks and other protected areas helps to protect the marine ecosystem, nursery areas of a number of fish and the shark species found within them. The zoning system helps prevent fishery conflicts between different sized vessels, particularly the trawlers and reduces excessive fishing activities in the inshore waters by the different types of gear. The banning of certain gears, such as the large mesh gillnets, helps to conserve breeding stocks by allowing the escape of the larger, more fecund, females.
Even though most of the existing management measures are directed towards the management of the fisheries as a whole, Malaysia has the legal framework to formulate specific measures aimed towards the conservation of sharks, if the need arises, and the capacity and capability to implement, and enforce, such measures.
5. THE MANAGEMENT PLANNING PROCESS
5.1 Provision of resource management advice
The management in the DOFM normally seeks advice on resource management from staff employed by the Research Branch of the DOFM, which has the task to undertake research in fish stock assessment and other related activities. Their latest information regarding the status of the fishery and its resources is provided to management, normally with supporting data, and management are required to make changes within the fishery in conformance to the biological advice given.
Important issues that might create a serious impact on the Malaysian fisheries are discussed at length within the DOFM and also with other interested parties that includes fishermen's associations. universities, or other legislative bodies. At these forums, views, suggestions, and even criticisms, are taken into consideration and the decisions taken by the DOFM normally follow a general consensus that has been reached at these forums. This integrated approach in decision making is necessary to ensure that the best advice is obtained for specific issues and also to create a closer working relationship between the DOFM and other national agencies.
5.2 Fishery statistics
5.2.1 Methods used for collection of catch and effort data
The Statistics Division of the DOFM is responsible for compiling the relevant statistics on the various aspects of the different fisheries existing in Malaysia. It undertakes this task through the continuous efforts of its staff placed at all the fish landing centres on the peninsula, as well as in Sabah and Sarawak. Annual figures are produced as a bulletin which represents the main source of reference on vital data and information relating to the Malaysian Fisheries Sector.
Monthly collection of catch and effort data is undertaken by trained staff of the Statistics Division at all of the fish landing centres. A minimum three-day working survey period is normally needed at each centre. Sampling needs to be conducted on at least 20% of the fishing gears in use, a tedious task especially if the total number is large as is the case at major landing centres. In these situations, extension of the sampling period is often necessary.
Depending upon the gear used and area of location, sampling is normally undertaken during the fish landing process, this being either in the early morning or late afternoon. The person doing the sampling activity needs to know the schedule of the normal arrivals of fishing vessels in port. Choice of vessels to be sampled is random, being done on the basis of their availability while the sampling is being conducted. Data on all fish species or groups of species are recorded as these vessels land and weigh their catch. Even on those considered to be trash fish are sampled. Sub-sampling is undertaken for groups of fish with excessively high catches to gain an estimate on their species composition. Catches from vessels which do not complete their fishing days at sea due to engine breakdown or other problems are not considered in the sampling because they do not correctly represent the actual resource situation.
Among the information recorded are:
5.2.2 Evaluation of the data collection process
The accuracy of the data that are obtained depends largely on the knowledge and skill of the person doing the sampling. With the existence of a work force with diverse capabilities within the Department specifically geared for this purpose, sampling guidelines have been introduced to achieve some degree of uniformity in the data collection process. The taxonomic proficiency of the samplers, especially in the identification of unusual species that might be present in the catch, is continually being upgraded through various training in fish taxonomy that is given periodically by experts from the Research Division of the DOFM or a University.
5.2.3 Data processing and storage and accessibility
Data are recorded manually onto specially prepared forms and forwarded to the Fishery State Office according to sub-areas and states for computer storage in a database and analysis. Trained staff from headquarters undertakes the responsibility of generally preparing these data for publication.
The computer software employed for data storage has been named the National Integrated Database Management System (NIDBMS), which was developed specifically for the purpose by staff belonging to the Department and experts from Canada. Access to these data by outsiders via telephone lines is now possible, but permission must first be obtained from the management concerned to ensure data confidentiality within the Department is not compromised.
5.3 Stock assessment
5.3.1 Assessment practices
It is difficult to provide an accurate assessment on the different species of sharks and their respective stocks as a whole in Malaysian waters mainly because not all species are caught in any specific fishing gear. Sharks do not form a significant component in the trawl fishery, where only few species are taken occasionally with the main targeted species, and as such little assessment may be made. However, assessment on the sharks is made mainly as part of the demersal fish resources through resource surveys, although sampling of commercial catch and effort helps provide some index of their abundance. The Department of Fisheries through its Research Division undertakes these surveys from time to time. The main objective is to provide the latest estimates on the demersal fish stocks, in terms of density or biomass, both in the coastal as well as in the offshore waters.
Demersal resource surveys in the coastal waters (less than 30nm from shore) in one part of the country or another within the last three decades have been common, being almost an annual affair, but within the Malaysian EEZ only two comprehensive surveys have been completed, the first in 1987 and second in 1998. In these surveys, the ‘swept area’ method using a bottom trawl as the main sampling gear was used to estimate abundance (Saleh, Taupek and Ahmad 1999).
The ‘swept area’ method provides an estimate on the density of fish per unit area and also information regarding the fish distribution and species composition. The recently conducted survey on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in waters extending beyond the 12nm up to the EEZ boundary in 1998 (an area estimated at nearly 28 000nm2) resulted in a total demersal biomass estimate of nearly 30 000t, of which sharks contributed a meagre 1.28%. In this survey sharks were found to be distributed to various degrees of concentration throughout the area with the highest in the deeper waters in the south. Shark species that were found included Chiloscyllium griseum, C. indicum, C. punctatum, Hemigaleus macrostoma and Stegostoma fasciatum
5.3.2 Measures of stock abundance
As noted above stock abundance of demersal fish, which includes species of sharks, is normally expressed as CPUE (kg/boat, kg/h), density (t/nm2) or biomass (tonnes) if the total area is known. These are measures commonly used in Malaysia to denote indices of abundance such as in resource surveys or assessment studies where appropriate.
5.3.3 Biological advice review process
Reviews of results obtained from research conducted on marine species are normally done by staff in the Fisheries Department as well as staff from local universities. Valuable remarks may likewise be obtained from work presentations at seminars and symposiums and for the more important high-budget research projects, comments and advice from external experts may also be sought.
5.3.4 Biological management reference points
Determining the current stock biomass or resource potential in the form of Maximum Sustainable Yield has always been an important objective for fisheries managers worldwide, and Malaysia is no exception. Up-to-date information on the subject is vital from the management's point of view to enable correct policies be drawn, especially those relating to the amount of fishing effort that may be allowed in respective areas. Unfortunately, such information is usually difficult to obtain, and more often than not, is costly.
5.3.5 Sustainability of the resource
So far, no specific study has been conducted to address the sustainability of the shark resources in Malaysian waters. It is generally felt that because of their high position in the food chain, as well as the observed low catches in the existing fishing gears, the shark stocks are probably still well-off. This belief is further compounded by the active implementation within the last decade of various rehabilitation exercises by authorities to safeguard the overall fishery resources. Such management programmes include the establishment of marine parks and artificial reefs. Fishing within a three-mile zone of the former is strictly prohibited while construction of artificial reefs at suitable sites has resulted in population blooms. Monitoring activities had shown both projects have attained considerable success.
188.8.131.52 The manager's perspective
Up-to-date information on the status of the fishery, usually in the form of biological resource advice from relevant researchers and advisors, is vital to enable a correct balance be reached between the needs of the fishing community and availability of the fish resources, which should not be exploted at the maximum sustainable level. Incorrect management decisions would adversely affect the resources and may cause economic disaster for the communities dependent on them. However, the fisheries managers should also strive for a prosperous fishing industry, which would have the capability to produce enough fish for the needs of the country, reduce imported fish products and improve the cashflow of the country. The industry should also develop profitable careers, create opportunities for higher living standards for fishermen, if not more at least on par with these in other industries, and make a greater contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product.
184.108.40.206 User's perspective
Fishermen are generally happy with the current situation of fishery resources in Malaysia, although at times criticisms and suggestions are also given that are considered at formal meetings held between researchers and advisors. Fishers and stakeholders generally try to obtain as many benefits as possible from the fishery, though few are willing to consider the negative aspects of resource overexploitation and habitat degradation. They nevertheless generally comply with any legislative procedures and regulations set by the Department.
220.127.116.11 Evaluation of the management process
Fishery resource management in Malaysia is generally still good since the managers are willing to take into account the relevant biological, technological, economic, social, environmental and commercial aspects, with a view towards ensuring the effective conservation, management and development of all living aquatic resources. The main issues of the coastal fisheries in most countries of the region are similar, i.e. overfishing, use of non-environmental friendly fishing gear, etc. And, it should also be noted that the fish landings from the inshore sector, as opposed to the offshore sector, usually form the main bulk of the total fish landings of the countries concerned, and serious management measures have been imposed by Malaysia to ensure a continuance in this level of production. It is generally accepted that management of the coastal and small scale fisheries is the prerogative of individual countries and they are better placed to identify the various “local” priorities and needs from the economic and socio-economic aspects, while the biological approach towards the long term sustainability of resource must also be carefully considered.
6. FISHERY MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS
6.1 The regulations
Since Malaysia is a Federation of States, some matters are within the powers of the Federal Legislature and others within the powers of the State Legislatures (Abdul Hamid 1997). Fishing in both maritime and estuarine waters is a Federal matter, but fishing in the rivers and other freshwaters comes under the State's jurisdiction. Whereas it is easier for the single Federal Parliament to make laws on maritime and estuarine fishing, it is not so easy to get all State Legislatures to make similar laws at the same time on riverine fishing.
Under the Fisheries Act 1985 the Minister of Agriculture is empowered to make regulations for the proper management of specific marine fisheries resources. Due to the nature of the shark fisheries in Malaysia being located mostly in the marine waters, although elasmobranchs are taken as bycatch, and some are found in parts of the fresh waters, no specific regulation pertaining to its management by both Federal and State Legislatures has yet been formulated. However, the list of regulations enforced (excluding regulation pertaining to recreational fisheries, which was discussed under Section 3.3), has in one way or another, provides some protection for the marine elasmobranch resources. Sharks and rays found in freshwater are still not safeguarded by any legislation. Some states like Sabah, which has endangered species like the Kinabatangan river shark (Glyphis sp.) and the giant stingray, Himantura chaophraya, have still not adopted the Fisheries Act 1985 regarding riverine fishing!
Some of the notable regulations being enforced are as follows:
• Fisheries (Prohibition of Methods of Fishing) Regulation 1980
This regulation prohibits the use of destructive methods of fishing practices, which can result in indiscriminate destruction of the coastal ecosystem, and its associated biodiversity. Under this regulation, pair trawling, cyanide fishing, electric fishing, and the use of explosive is banned. The use of the push net and large mesh gillnets is also prohibited.
• Fisheries (Prohibited Areas) (Rantau Abang) Regulations 1991
The main objective of this regulation is to protect nesting turtles in the vicinity of the Rantau Abang turtle sanctuary area. This area, of approximately 160nm2, as specified in the schedule and is declared as a fishery prohibited area. No person is allowed to kill or capture any fish within this specified area, except for fishing using anchovies seine net, hook and line, lift net and squid jigging, which are not harmful to turtles.
• Fisheries (Establishment of Marine Parks Malaysia) Order 1994
The establishment of Marine Parks and Marine Reserves is also relevant to the conservation and management of shark fisheries as it ensures the protection of the environment and hence the sustainability of the resources in the protected area. This is in line with the principle goal of establishing the Marine Parks and Marine Reserve which is to protect, conserve, and manage marine ecosystem of significance, with the objective of directly protecting the aquatic flora and fauna, their habitat, and natural breeding grounds. At present, 4 Marine Parks, which enclose the waters of 40 islands off the west and east coasts of Peninsular Malaysia, have been gazetted. The Act for the establishment of Marine Parks in the state of Sabah comes under the state legislation and to date, three Marine Parks consisting of ten islands have been established in the state.
6.2 Regulations and the communication process
The Legislative Branch of the DOFM and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Government formulate the required regulations for perusal by the Ministry. After approval by the Parliament the regulations are officially gazetted and copies are sent to the relevant organisations. These regulations are implemented by various legal enforcement authorities belonging to the Government. For the maritime waters and issues pertaining to the sea, the enforcing agencies are usually the Enforcement Branch of the DOFM, the Marine Police, and the Royal Malaysian Navy. All these agencies are equipped with firearms for the purpose of enforcement, but they still need to follow governmental procedures in the discharge of their duty.
7. THE LAW AND ENFORCEMENT
7.1 Legal status
The Fisheries Ordinance 1909 was the only Ordinance used to regulate the fishing industry in the early 1900s. It was repealed in 1951, and was subsequently replaced with the Fisheries Rules 1951. The introduction of trawlers in the 1960s and 1970s, and the subsequent problems associated with this, led to the formulation of the Fisheries Act 1963 which provided a more comprehensive legal framework to manage the fisheries in Malaysian waters. This Act was subsequently repealed and replaced by the Fisheries Act 1985. The 1985 Act is comprehensive and was enacted on 1 January 1986 for the management, conservation, and optimum utilization of the fisheries resources in the Malaysian fisheries waters. It covers the internal waters, the territorial waters and the EEZ waters. After the 12 years of implementation, the Act was amended to include, among other actions, the establishment of the National Advisory Council for Marine Park and Marine Reserve to ensure effective management of Marine Park and Marine Reserve areas. The amendments were done after considering suggestions by the local fishing communities and industries and after some informal discussions with lawmakers representing the coastal communities.
7.2 Enforcement problems
The Resource Protection Branch of the Department of Fisheries is responsible for enforcing laws and regulations promulgated under the Fisheries Act. Among the tasks of this Branch are:
To plan and execute patrols and operations to protect the fishermen and the fishery resources in the Malaysian fisheries waters.
To plan and carry out operations to curb illegal fishing, infringements, and contravention to the terms and conditions of the given licences.
To plan and carry out joint operations with other maritime enforcement agencies, national and regional levels.
The Branch is provided with facilities, manpower, as well as allocations to carry out surveillance and enforcement works. It is sufficiently equipped to carry out enforcement work with an enforcement strength of about 500 personnel, and 13 patrol vessels of the P-100, P-200 and P-300 series, 18 PA series vessel, and 51 PL series vessels are at its disposal. The Branch, in 1998, was given RM 13.84 million for operational expenses which include surveillance which was close to 30% of the total operational budget of the Department of Fisheries for the year. Marine surveillance is also conducted by other enforcement agencies as well including the Marine Police and the Royal Malaysian Navy.
7.4 The legal process
The Malaysian Fisheries Act 1985 (amended) is the legal basis on which fishing regulations are enforced. The culpability of offenders and associated penalties are decided by the courts, with the judge presiding and legislative officers from the DOFM prosecuting. Penalties for offences are specified in the Act. Most penalties are of a monetary nature. However, depending on the severity of the offence committed, the Act also allows for confiscation of equipment used in illegal fishing, loss of licence, and even custodial sentences.
The Department of Fisheries has come up with comprehensive management schemes to manage fisheries resources in Malaysia. Laws and regulations are promulgated for this purpose. However, these are meaningless without proper enforcement. Enforcement is deemed necessary in an effective management, and the Department of Fisheries Malaysia has the capacity and capability to deliver it.
8. MANAGEMENT SUCCESS
8.1 Profitability of the fishery
No studies have been done on the profitability of the shark fisheries. As a result, it is difficult to assess the economic viability of the industry. The Malaysian fishery as a whole, however, appeared to be performing well with the total landing from the marine capture fisheries increasing by 4.02% from 1 065 585t in 1994 to 1 108 436t in 1995 (Annual Fisheries Statistics 1995). In terms of value, there was an increase of 4.98% from RM2.584 billion in 1994 to RM2.711 billion in 1995. More recent figures are yet unavailable, due to the current economic slow down, but values of landrays are predicted to remain around this level. This indicates that the management process for the fishery is still succeeding.
8.2 Issues of equity and efficiency
The management objectives and policies implemented in the Malaysian fisheries have generally brought a practical harmony and positive wealth to the people concerned. A great number of fishers and stakeholders are now wealthy from their investments in the various fisheries, especially the proprietors of profit-making commercial vessels such as trawlers and purse seiners. Prices of fish are now high, some estimating them to be at least twice the value they fetched a decade ago.
Where twenty years ago fishermen were unknown to pay income tax, due to the generally low income they received from the fishery, the situation has now changed. The Malaysian Internal Revenues Department is now appraising and assessing a great number of fishermen for their income, which speaks much for the wealth they have managed to amass.
9. MANAGEMENT COSTS
The costs of managing the Malaysian fisheries are entirely borne by the Government which views the smooth running of these fisheries as being part of its responsibility to the people and for the good of the country. The various government agencies and departments that have been established, such as the DOFM and MFDB, have personnel whose salaries are entirely paid for by the Government. These personnel do not have any invested interests in the fisheries other than the responsibility and duty that have been entrusted to them to ensure the smooth running and prosperity of the fisheries. In 1998, the Government allocated around RM46 million to the DOFM to achieve the Department's objectives. Cost recovery models in the management process of the entire Malaysian fisheries have up to now not been considered.
The authors wish to express their gratitude to the Chief of the Marine Fishery Resources Development and Management Department (MFRDMD) of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) for his permission and support to undertake this assignment and writing up this report. Our appreciation also goes to all Department staff who has helped in the preparation of this report.
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