Research trawl surveys have been conducted in four areas of Malaysian waters (west and east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and waters off the coast of Sarawak and off the west coast of Sabah) since 1970. Selected surveys (1972 - 98) were used to examine the status of demersal fishery resources in each area, focusing on catch rate and biomass trends, population parameters and the exploitation rates of dominant species. Annual fishery catch and effort data for Peninsular Malaysia (1971 - 96) and Sarawak (1969 - 96) were used to assess the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and fishing effort to achieve optimum level (fMSY). The results indicate over-exploitation of the demersal resources, severe depletion and excess effort in the fisheries. The catch rates have declined up to 96% in some regions, while biomass estimates are down to 6% of the virgin stock biomass. Most of the dominant species have exploitation ratios over 0.40. Analysis of the standardized fishing effort and yield using the Fox model indicates that the 1996 effort is 135 - 200% of the level needed to harvest MSY. The levels of reduction of catch and of exploitation vary among the four areas and with depth, but most show over-exploitation and severe reductions.
Status of demersal fishery resources of Malaysia
Ahmad, A.T., Isa, M.M., Ismail, M.S., Yusof, S. (2003)
p. 83-136. Assessment, management and future directions for coastal fisheries in Asian countries. WorldFish Center conference proceedings; 67