The Sungai Sembilang Port located some 65 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur was established in 2018 by the country's Fisheries Department Authority. It services 32 licensed artisanal fisherfolk and their boats.
Munira, Zuwairi, Habi and Farah (from left to right) from the Department of Fisheries Malaysia (DOF) are some of those responsible for issuing and monitoring the proper use of fishing licences, boats and equipment. The DOF has also provided support for the implementation of projects by the fishing community, such as providing storage and boat repair facilities at the port, as well as other facilities. The DOF furthermore conducts stock assessments every five years.
Under Malaysian regulations, the area within one nautical mile from the baseline at the west coast area is considered as a conservation zone where fishing is restricted, while the zone between one nautical mile to eight nautical miles is reserved for small-scale, artisanal fisherfolk with vessels measuring not more than 15 metres.
Norhizam bin Salleh, who inherited his fishing boat and licence from his parents, hopes to provide the same opportunity for his children. He worries that due to climate change, it is taking more effort to fish compared to 10 years ago.
Omar bin Abdul Rahman (second from left), the President of the Selangor Fishers Association, stresses that fishing is a full-time job, with an average catch of 100-250kg per day. The association manages the port and provides training to fisherfolk on best practices, including on conservation and the generation of alternative sources of income. He says that because the ocean contributes to their livelihood, it is their responsibility to also give back to the ocean.