Food Industry Ministry to establish Empurau, Tapah Belt in Kapit and Bintulu respectively

Empurau fish are highly sought after in Sarawak. File photo for illustration purposes

KUCHING, May 23: The Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Ministry is planning to establish indigenous fish belts namely Empurau and Tapah Belt in Kapit and Bintulu Division respectively.

Its Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said the plan came about because the interior of Sarawak is blessed with a large network of pristine water bodies that provide a natural habitat to many species of high value indigenous fishes.

Dr Rundi, who is also Kemena assemblyman, said the proposed development of the Tapah Belt in Bintulu will start with the upgrading of facilities at Sungai Sebiew Inland Fisheries Station, which will be renamed as Kemena Tapah Research and Development Centre. 

Among others, the centre will conduct research and development of Tapah fish as well as other high value blackwater ornamental fishes and aquatic plants, he added.

As for Tapah cultivation, he said a satellite research facility, the Tapah Research and Conservation Ulu Binyo Base Camp will also be established to focus on the Tapah fisheries researches. 

Meanwhile, Dr Rundi also disclosed that the Department of Agriculture Sarawak has taken the initiative to upgrade the existing facilities at the Inland Fisheries Holding Station, Song, Kapit to carry out the domestication and development of indigenous fishes such as Empurau, Semah, Labang, and Tengadak from Katibas and Balleh with an initial allocation of RM105,000.

“The centre will be renamed as Kapit Indigenous Fish Hatchery Centre (Pusat Pembenihan Ikan Asal Kapit). 

“Besides, two satellite stations in Kapit Division namely Merirai and Engkuah Agriculture Station would also be developed as inland fisheries stations for high impact indigenous fishes’ aquaculture and conservation,” said Dr Rundi when delivering his winding-up speech at Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) held at New DUN Complex here today. — DayakDaily