Greater planning, efforts needed to turn Bakun Dam into fish production hub

Bakun Dam

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Feb 6: Extra effort, planning and resources are needed to turn the Bakun Dam lake into a mammoth fish production hub.

Belaga assemblyman Datuk Liwan Lagang pointed out that in order to strengthen the livelihoods of those affected by mega dam project, an appropriate action plan needs to be put in place.

“We have to think of the best way to get the Bakun HEP (hydroelectric power) dam lake more productive so as to facilitate the livelihood of the local people,” Liwan told DayakDaily here today.

He reiterated that it would not be fair to expect the local people to think of what was best for them as they would not be able to implement any project with their present economic status.

“If need be, the government can allocate extra funding to URDA (Upper Rajang Development Agency) to provide specific assistance to the poor people to upgrade their livelihood, especially in fish-rearing in Bakun Lake,” said Liwan.

On his part, Liwan who is also Assistant Minister of Rural Electricity Supply said he would assist to get the necessary funding as it would greatly benefit local residents, especially those who were displaced by the HEP dam and are now resettled at Sg Asap Resettlement Scheme.

“If need be, I will bring the matter up to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg as the needs here are very urgent,” said Liwan.

Currently, fish fry for species such as empurau have to be transported from Tarat in Serian Division as it is the only empurau hatchery station in Sarawak.

During a working visit to Bakun Lake on November 2018, Department of Agriculture state acting senior assistant director (inland fisheries) Awang Alim Awang Kasim suggested that there was a need to set up a fish hatchery at Bakun Lake.

He said the move was necessary to supply indigenous fish fry for the massive lake and for Murum HEP dam as well as for the needs of the central region.

Besides tilapia, indigenous fish which are in high demand in the market currently are tilapia, baong, tapah, semah, tengadak, and of course, empurau, considered the emperor of local fish and the most expensive on the market per kg. — DayakDaily