Premier: ‘No more seasonal fish’, deployment of artificial reefs increases marine life in Sarawak waters

Abang Johari flanked by Dr Sim (seated left) and Awang Tengah while other dignitaries look on at the press conference. Photo: Sarawak Information Department (JaPen Sarawak)

By Chris Bishop and Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Sept 19: Fishermen and consumers no longer have to wait for ‘fishing season’ as Sarawak waters are now a deep pool for fish following the deployment of artificial reefs across its shoreline.

Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said the first phase of the Sarawak Reef Ball project undertaken in 2018 had shown a positive effect where the amount of catch had increased which led to an increase in fishermen’s income too.

“We have received feedback from the local fishermen that when their income has increased, this has significantly impacted their livelihood.

“In most places where we docked our reef ball, there is no more ‘seasonal’ (fish) because the fish will be there.

“And this has given many positive effects in terms of the coastal community’s economy,” he told a press conference at Kampung Telaga Air jetty today.

Earlier, Abang Johari witnessed the docking of the 16,800th and final reef ball for the first phase of the Sarawak Reef Ball project near Satang Island.

The first phase of the Reef Ball project along 1,000km of State waters, also the longest artificial reef in the world, started in 2018 at the cost of RM70 million.

At the event, Abang Johari announced that the project’s second phase would begin next year under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

The second phase will involve creating more fish breeding areas in identified places from Kuching to Miri and planting coral reefs to promote sport fishing and scuba diving.

Abang Johari also noted that the State government, through Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), is committed to ensuring marine conservation in marine parks throughout the State.

“It shows success when many turtles land in our area, such as Telok Melano in Lundu and Similajau National Park in Bintulu,” he added.

Amongst those present were Deputy Premiers Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian. — DayakDaily