Forum: Regulate commercial fishing in push for sustainability

Anecdotally, the impact on marine life from recreational anglers is nothing compared with that from commercial fishing (Fishing group rolls out sustainability guidelines as more cast their lines, Aug 24).

While efforts to promote sustainable fishing practices are admirable in themselves, the commercial fishing activities in Singapore waters should be examined too.

The greatest damage to marine life is done by persons deploying nets and traps. They are tapping a public resource in sovereign territory for commercial gain, yet do not pay any levy.

Imagine individuals going about uprooting wayside shrubs and potting and selling them.

Perhaps the authorities should deem that netting of all types, including traps, but not including the cast net and open crab traps, are commercial means, and ban these from recreational use in Singapore territorial waters.

Licences could be issued for commercial netting and trapping with a fee or levy commensurate with the potential income from such activity.

Those who think it worth their while to obtain the licences will do so. The consequent reduction of unregulated netting and trapping will go far towards the conservation effort.

The means for enforcement could be appointed based on the principle of protection of national resources and property.

Lim Eng Lian