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MMEA gets tough, holds 'Viking funeral' for illegal fishing boat

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) is sending a strong message against illegal fishing in local waters.
On Wednesday morning, the agency disposed of a boat used for illegal fishing by burning it at sea.
"Sinking ships and turning them into artificial reefs has not had any lasting impact on offenders.
"The burning was used as an alternative measure to send a clear message to the local and international community that the Malaysian Government is very serious about combating this issue," MMEA deputy director-general (operations) Datuk Mohd Taha Ibrahim said in a statement Wednesday.
He said the burning was done after receiving the proper clearance from the courts as well as from the Department of Environment.
He added that this was also done to boost the income of local fisherman, as the reefs would turn into breeding grounds, thus increasing their catch.
About 285 boats used for illegal fishing have already been disposed off and turned into reefs across Malaysia, according to Mohd Taha.
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