The video below has Joakim and son from Sweden sharing their thoughts about fishing in Kuala Rompin and Malaysia. Joakim mentioned perhaps having a no-net zone where the sailfish congregates off Kuala Rompin which should be seriously considered as it will create a marine sanctuary which will benefit all parties in the long term, including commercial fishermen and the local economy as a whole.
Unbeknown to many, a familiar episode plays out every single year in Kuala Rompin, it is the call for protecting the fragile fishery around the waters of Kuala Rompin where large numbers of indo-pacific sailfish and other billfish congregate to feed and perhaps even spawn.
Like many locations in the oceans (and on land) around the world, the same saga plays out between people who can do something (the authorities) and people who wants something done.
Spearheaded by the fishing association of Kuala Rompin, charter operators, fishing guides and anglers, this battle of sorts usually heats up around the period of the Royal Pahang Billfish International Challenge (RPBIC).
By right, the battle should not pause and be consistent as it’ll be too late when the fish are gone.
Here We Have a National Treasure But Nothing is Done To Protect It
The danger here is there is a lot of fishing pressure from trawlers and even squid fishing boats.
Many sailfish end-up in the fishing nets hauled up together with the food fish. That’s a fact. The heavy pressure on these bait-fish is also a major concern as without food for the sailfish, there won’t be any sailfish in these waters.
A no-net zone will benefit the marine ecosystem – this in turn will be beneficial to the tourism industry as a continuous flow of tourist will keep coming contributing directly to everyone involved in the tour-travel operators, anglers and even the commercial fishing industry in the long term. And we have not even mentioned the spin-offs to the related business and local communities. If that’s not foresight, I don’t know what is.
S.O.S – Save Our Sailfish
Sport Fishing Asia initiated the S.O.S campaign in 2012 to highlight the need to protect the fishery and promote sustainable fishing.
What ticked me off and prompted me to create this awareness campaign was a damning report in our local news on the “landing” of hundreds of tons of sailfish in the net of trawlers. This figures were released by the Department of Fisheries, no less. Very shocking and the news created an outcry by the sport fishing communities.
The original poster (with yellow wordings) was eventually adopted by the Kuala Rompin Fishing Association and some fishing tackle sponsors.
It was also well received by many.
For some odd reasons, in recent times, the S.O.S acronym which suits perfectly with the message and is the de-facto signal-for-help sign in the world since the beginning of time – has been transformed to S.O.B (Save Our Billfish). You can see the banners when you fish here.
Now, we all should know what S.O.B stands for, right? That’s funny.
Thank goodness for mother nature
The nearly 4-month long northeast monsoon from November to February gives the waters here a much needed break as the strong winds, storms and rough seas makes it dangerous to almost all boats to venture out.
I cannot imagine if the fishery is pummelled all year long, with no breathers.
McDonald’s Malaysia was kind enough to play a big role by supporting and sponsoring the first large-scale billfish conservation in 2004. Following that, the annual Royal Pahang Challenge (RPBIC) was born.
Below is an comment made after one of my most shared and viewed post in Sport Fishing Asia’s Facebook Page about the plight and joy of Rompin and Malaysia.
Great article ….. Many of us will recall that the first Project to save the Rompin Billfish was initiated many years ago and was sponsored by McDonalds ( haha )… we even took the then minister of tourism to catch his first Sailfish. The Royal Pahang Billfish tournament started after this. Since then many have urged the authorities to put in place measures to protect this world class fishery….like designating a no-go area for trawlers, putting in artificial reefs, which can also deter trawlers, better enforcement of safety rules, training the guides, building public boat ramps…etc. Sadly the powers that be can’t seem to see beyond their noses, unless they can see benefits for themselves…. Malaysia’s never ending story…sigh. – Tony Wee (respected angler in Malaysia)
Photos of stickers courtesy of good friend and fishing buddy, Tony Wee, who was very much involved with the gallant effort to bring recognition and conservation awareness to the sport, event and country.
I hope corporations will come forward to lend similar supports to this worthy cause for the long run.
Contact us if you want to play a part in this campaign.