FISH CHARACTERISTICS AND DISTRIBUTION OF POTENTIAL FISHING ZONES IN THE MALACCA STRAIT USING HYDROACOUSTIC ASSESSMENT DURING THE SOUTHWEST MONSOON SEASON
Keywords:Potential fishing zones, pelagic, demersal, acoustic, Malacca Strait
The Malacca Strait is a productive region in marine fisheries but limited information on fish characteristics and its potential fishing zones. This research aimed to determine fish characteristics and the distribution of potential fishing zones through the analyses of fish length and density. The hydroacoustic and trawling surveys were conducted during the Southwest Monsoon season in June 2008 along the Malacca Strait. The pelagic fishes detected in the eastern part of the Malacca Straits tended to be smaller than in the western part of the Malacca Strait, while the demersal fishes tended to be not significantly different in the eastern part and the western part of the Malacca Strait. Meanwhile, the density of pelagic fishes was relatively higher in the eastern part compared to the western part of the Malacca Strait, even though in general the density of pelagic fishes was relatively high (> 5 fishes m-3) along the Malacca Strait. High potential fishing zones of pelagic fishes were only found in three of fourteen locations in the middle region of the Malacca Strait. Meanwhile, for demersal fishes, high potential fishing zones were only found in two of fourteen locations i.e., one in the coastal region of Belawan waters in the western part of the Malacca Strait and one in the eastern part of Bengkalis waters of the eastern part of the Malacca Strait. Meanwhile, moderate to low potential fishing zones for both pelagic and demersal fishes were generally found along the Malacca Strait. The result can be used as an indicator that fisheries resources along the Malacca Strait are heading toward a declination. Therefore, for sustainable fisheries resources management in the region, some good efforts are needed to be taken from the three countries of Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia such as to enforce fishermen to only use friendly fishing gears and not to use trawls to avoid juvenile and small fishes to be captured.
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