By Jaythaleela K
MIRI, May 5: Avid angler Mohammad Ali Khan never thought that his second time participating in the Miri City International Deep Sea Fishing Tournament would secured him a RM20,000 cash prize for first place.
“Last year, I joined the tournament but did not win anything, and this year, I was just trying my luck, and it seems to be my lucky day today,” said Mohammad when swarmed by the media after the official announcement was made on Sunday morning.
In the 12th edition of the tournament which concluded Sunday (May 5), Mohammad, who hails from Brunei, caught a giant grouper weighing at 60.7kg, securing first place ahead of 140 other participants.
Second place went to Tan Bin from Malaysia with his catch, also a grouper, weighing 59.2kg, while third place went to Singaporean Sunny Yun Tar Sun, also catching a grouper weighing at 39.94kg.
The second and third place winners received cash prizes worth RM6,000 and RM3,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, in the team category, China dominated to claim the champion’s spot, followed by Brunei in second and Singapore and Malaysia in third.
For the team category, the champion bagged cash prizes worth RM5,000, while second and third place received RM3,000 and RM2,000 respectively.
The tournament’s fishing spot, Luconia Shoals, is located at about 80 to 140 nautical miles off Miri waters.
To reach the location, it takes about eight to 12 hours by boats.
Luconia Shoals is gazetted as a marine national park and is the biggest in the country.
It is located in the South China Sea and lies over the Sunda Continental Shelf in the Malaysian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) within Sarawak territorial waters.
The event registered 31 participants from Singapore and China each, 25 from Brunei and 54 from Malaysia.
The event was supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak.
Present to witness the catch landing at Marina Bay jetty today were Assistant Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting and Miri Mayor Adam Yii.
Lee when met later expressed confidence that Miri could be the best choice as a tuna fishing spot, considering the growing numbers of tuna available here.
“Tuna fishing could help to propel the city’s tourism sector further,” he reckoned.
He also proposed to tournament organiser Miri Anglers Club to promote the event in Japan as the country is known as the biggest consumer of tuna.
“Be it raw for sushi or sashimi or fried…tuna is an important element of the (Japanese) food culture,” he pointed out.
He also expressed surprise at the composition of the tournament’s catch , comprising mainly tuna and groupers.
“It shows that Miri waters produces quite a large number of tuna and groupers apart from other fish,” he said. — DayakDaily