- to determine the catch composition of sharks and rays at species level
- to determine their nursery ground for some species as a consequence to the trawl activity during monsoon season
Malaysia is rich in diversity of sharks and rays. Until year 2016, Malaysia had recorded 85 species of rays, 70 species of sharks, six species of skates and one species of chimaera. A total of 18 families of sharks, 12 families of rays, two families of skates and one family of chimaera were recorded. The numbers are expected to be more in future as new species were continuously discovered and many deep water species are still unknown due to limited research activities (Abdul Haris Hilmi et al., 2017). The life cycle most of these fishes is distinguish by late maturity, long life spans, long gestation periods, and few well developed progeny (Dulvy et al., 2008). The landings of shark and ray in Malaysia contributed about 1% and 2% of total marine landings respectively from 2015 – 2016 (Abdul Haris Hilmi et al., 2017). However, shark and ray are not intentionally fished but are mostly caught as by-catch in many fishing gears such as trawlers and drift nets. By-catch is the unintentionally capture of non-targeted species or juvenile size ranges of the target species by non-selective fishing gear (Hall, 1996; Crowder and Murawski, 1998).
Fishing vessels in Malaysian waters operates in different zone according to their type of gear and gross registered tonnage (GRT). Vessels in Zone A (less than 10 GRT) operate in the radius less than five nautical miles from coastline, vessels in Zone B (10 – 40 GRT) operate between 5 – 15 nautical miles from coastline and vessels in Zone C (more than 40 GRT) operate in the radius more than 15 nautical miles from coastline. However, during monsoon season in East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, special permit to operate bottom trawl net in the radius less than five nautical miles was license to fishers in Zone A namely ‘Monsoon Season Trawl Net’ or locally known as Pukat Tunda Musim Tengkujuh (PTMT). Monsoon season trawl net were targeted to catch high quality of shrimps and fishes on the sea floor of shallow coastal area less than 10 m depth. The operation of PTMT only allowed to be operated in four months’ period, starting from November until February the next year. In 2017, the operation period was starting on December 2017 until March 2018. The area for trawling activity must exceed two nautical miles (nm) radius from the coastline to conserve the natural habitat and nursery ground of marine fishes. However, a special permission from Department of Fisheries Malaysia (DoF) was given to Southeast Asia Marine Resources Institute (ISMAT) researchers to conduct this study within two nautical miles from coastline.
This study conducted in Kuala Pahang due to frequent highest catch of sharks and rays recorded in Pahang compared to other states in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. In year 2018, the total landing of sharks and rays were 1,845 tonnes and 2,565 tonnes respectively. The landing of sharks and rays recorded in Pahang were 774 tonnes (42%) and 1,194 tonnes (46%) respectively, (DoFM, 2020).
Ketua Projek : Hamizah Nadia binti Alias @ Yusof (hamizah[at]seafdec.org.my)
Rosdi bin Mohd Nor (rosdi[at]seafdec.org.my)