Overfishing Is Also Depleting Penang S Fishing Resources




Previous reclamation activities along the Tanjung Sri Pinang coastline are not the only culprits causing the depletion of fishing resources in Penang, says Penang executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin
He said overfishing was another reason for the decline in fish stocks which affects both the livelihood of fisherfolks and the marine environment
"There are many other factors from overfishing to supply and demand issues, including population increase and pollution, which affect marine life," said Afif, who oversees the agriculture, agro-based industries, rural development and health portfolio
"The declining amount of catch and (poor) state of marine life has happened even before reclamation was an issue in the 1990s," he told reporters at a press conference after attending a Hari Raya open house event organised by the Penang Fisheries Department in Bukit Gelugor
Afif was asked to respond to a video documentary which highlighted the shortage of fishes in the Tanjung Tokong fishing enclave where reclamation activities were said to have affected the livelihood of fisherfolk in the area
Concerns are mounting over the issue and a recent article in The Asean Post claimed that destruction to marine life might be due to the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project, which involves the creation of three islands covering an area of 4,500 acres
Afif, who is also Seberang Jaya state assemblyperson, said marine ecology along the Tanjung Tokong strip was also compromised by the slow replenishment rate of fishes
He said the fishing community is struggling to meet the increasing demand for seafood due to Penang's population growth
"This is why the fishing community met with me and Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to discuss how to address all these issues, including a proposal for the state to provide better fishing vessels for deep sea fishing," he said
Afif claimed that the contractors involved in the PSR project - which is currently awaiting approval from the federal government - have been engaging with the fisherfolk to find solutions to address their complaints
Penang's fisherfolk population number around 5,000. Four of these groups are represented by the Penang Fishermen Association which sent a proposal for a win-win solution on how the state can contribute to maritime conservation and sustainable fishing practices. - Mkini

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