Rising number of illegal fishing platforms in Kudat waters troubling Esscom

KOTA KINABALU: Security forces are concerned over the rising number of illegal traditional fishing platforms, or bagang, that have been built in the waters off Sabah’s northern Kudat district.

Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) chief Deputy Comm Hamzah Ahmad said they have observed that these bagang had multiplied of late.

“The construction of these structures have increased in the Kudat waters and this is a concern as they could be a potential threat to national security and people’s well-being, especially in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone),” he said, in a statement here on Tuesday (July 26).

As such, he said, security forces would carry out Op Gasak Laut Bagang to demolish all illegal structures built off Kudat on Thursday (July 28).

The operation will involve the military, Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency, Sabah Parks and State Fisheries Department besides the police.

DCP Hamzah said the operation was valid under the Sabah Parks Enactment as well as the Fisheries Act, among other laws.

He said enforcers from Sabah Parks and the Fisheries Department would issue eviction and demolition notices on bagang found operating illegally.

“Anyone that has such structures along Sabah’s east coast is advised to vacate the structures and demolish them immediately before the authorities take action,” he warned.

Towards this end, DCP Hamzah urged the public to report any illegal bagang or structures found in the Esszone by contacting the Esscom operations centre at 089-863 181 or through WhatsApp at 011- 63311072.