“I was caught in a heavy downpour once. My boat was filled with water and I had to pay to get it repaired,” he added.
Mr Kun, the prawn fisherman, echoed similar sentiments.
“The heavy rain and strong winds are getting more frequent. It’s harder for me to pull up the nets during storms,” he added.
He too said his overall earnings from fishing had dropped “more than half” over the last decade, partly because of the weather.
LAND RECLAMATION ALSO DIMINISHES FISHING CATCH
Dr Serina noted that development projects along the Johor Strait, which involve land reclamation, have also diminished seafood catch for the Orang Seletar.
“As shorelines expand, seas become smaller. Fishermen struggle to get to sea as marine areas are carved out for private or industrial use,” she said.
“The whole stretch of the Johor Strait faces development pressures and the impact on marine habitats in the area affects everyone – local fishermen and all the orang asli who fish along the strait as well,” she added.
She noted how, for instance, that land along the Danga Bay is being used for a myriad of development projects, including residential and commercial purposes. She added that this impacts the Orang Seletar directly, especially those who reside at Kampung Sungai Temon and Kampung Bakar Batu.
A fisherwoman, who wanted to be known only as Mina, was catching mussels near Kampung Sungai Temon when she told CNA that a large dune of sand currently looms over her village, spilling into the shoreline.
She claimed that it was placed there by a land developer “some years ago”, as part of the initial process of reclamation.
“This place used to have mangroves, and there used to be abundance of crabs, prawns as they lay eggs on the banks,” said Mdm Mina.