Marine Research Foundation and Yayasan Sime Darby kicks off Peninsular Malaysia leg of the project with Department of Fisheries Malaysia and local fishermen

Manjung, 13 September 2022 – Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) and Marine Research Foundation (MRF) today kicked off the Peninsular Malaysia portion of YSD's second phase of sponsorship for MRF. This is the first of MRF’s engagements in Peninsular Malaysia to conserve large marine megafauna throughout Malaysia with YSD providing additional funding of RM1.9 million from 2020 to 2024, on top of the first phase of funding worth RM270,000.

YSD Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Hjh. Yatela Zainal Abidin said that the project extension is intended to enhance the usage of the Turtle Excluder Devices (TED) in Peninsular Malaysia as well as to reduce the marine megafauna bycatch rate cause by shrimp trawling activities in Malaysia.

“Following a successful first phase of YSD’s funding for MRF’s efforts to conserve Malaysia’s marine species in Sabah, we are proud to continue our collaboration and support for this TED project in Peninsular Malaysia. YSD’s support for the TED, together with MRF’s innovative approach aims to see the number of bycatch or non-targeted species trapped in commercial fishing nets drastically reduced with the TED installations. We also aim to reduce bycatch with the process being nationally regulated, and the bycatch being accounted for and mitigated,” she said at the event today.

MRF's recent success in submitting the Shark & Ray Bycatch Report 2020-2021 to DoFS, along with a heatmap illustrating bycatch hotspot areas, has paved the way for normalising discussions about the integration of marine species in the overall health of oceanic ecosystems to counteract climate change.

In the first phase of the project, MRF managed to reduce turtle bycatch in Sabah by outfitting 60 shrimp trawling vessels with the home-designed TEDs, where at least 1 turtle is saved by each TED installed. MRF also successfully concluded 13 capacity-building workshops for 510 local fishermen and 15 Department of Fisheries Sabah officers.

In the second phase of YSD's sponsorship, MRF will extend their capacity-building efforts through training of fishermen and 150 Department of Fisheries officers from Perak, east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah. The TED workshops will also function to encourage community dialogues and demonstration trials to equip more than 300 shrimp trawling vessels with TEDs.

“TEDs are a win-win solution in fisheries management. They save sea turtles but do not affect fisher catches and income. It is heartening to see the awakening of concern over these issues by all parties, and we are indebted to YSD for their support and visionary approach to protecting the natural wonders of Malaysia,” added Dr Nicolas Pilcher, Executive Director of MRF.

Dr. Hjh. Yatela Zainal Abidin together with Haji Wan Muhammad Aznan Abdullah, Deputy Director-General of Fisheries (Management) of Department of Fisheries Malaysia and Liyana Izwin Khalid, Senior Conservation Officer, Marine Research Foundation attended the opening of the Peninsular Malaysia TED programme.

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Last Updated:
21 Sep 2022
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