MUKAH, Oct 1: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg will announce special plans and incentives in the state Budget 2020 to sustain the livelihood of Sarawak fishermen in the coming state assembly (DUN) session this November.
Speaking at the launching of the Artificial Reef Ball programme here, Abang Johari hit out at the Pakatan Harapan federal government for discontinuing some of the assistance to fishermen in the country under the national Budget 2019.
This has caused anxiety among them as their livelihoods are at stake, he said.
“We need to help our fishermen, especially when monsoon season come and these people cannot go out to sea. They cannot fish and this will cause zero income for them.
“Therefore, I have come up with a plan, which will help them especially during the monsoon period and I will announce it next month for our state Budget 2020,” he continued.
Abang Johari added that traditional fishermen in Sarawak have struggled to cope with the decline in fish stocks, and the situation turns worse during monsoon season.
On the reef ball projects, he said it is crucial to conserve marine life and the environment, as well as to deter illegal trawling and discourage encroachment by foreign fishing boats.
“We need to protect our shoreline and the reef balls are perfect for our marine conservation efforts. It will be effective in curbing illegal trawling in Sarawak waters and stop intrusions,” he pointed out.
Abang Johari said the Sarawak government has decided to allocate funds for the placing of artificial reefs in fish-rich grounds in state waters, after federal funding for the initiative appeared to have been cut off.
“If these reef projects are not done, it will affect our fishes tremendously because the fishes have no home, hence affecting our fishermen.
“So in the end, I’ve decide to ‘go ahead’ and give RM70 million for our state reef ball projects. We will do it all, stretching from Tanjung Dato to Lawas,” he said.
Abang Johari also said once the project is fully completed, Sarawak will have the longest artificial reef in the world, stretching to about 1,000 km long.
He also announced an allocation of RM5 million for the construction of Mukah’s new district office. — DayakDaily