GEORGE TOWN, June 25 — The issue of fish shortage and declining catch of fishermen is due to many factors and not reclamation projects alone, said state executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin.
Other factors that contributed to the problem included overfishing, encroachment by foreign fishing vessels, declining fish population and increase in human population, said Dr Afif, who is in charge of agriculture and agro-based industry, rural development and health,
“Why should we discuss only the fishermen’s right to catch fish? How about the issue of maintaining the population of fish in the marine ecosystem?” he told reporters after attending the Penang State Fisheries Office’s Aidilfitri celebration here today.
He said this when asked to comment on a video featuring reclamation works in Sri Tanjung Pinang II near here, which have raised concerns among fishermen.
Dr Afif, who is also Seberang Jaya state assemblyman, said the state government had talked to fishermen to get their feedback before implementing the project, adding that they did not object but suggested an alternative for the government to increase their income.
Meanwhile, Dr Afif said the state government planned to rebuild the tuna fish industry as it has great potential and could bring high returns.
“Last year about 1,200 tonnes of tuna was landed in Penang. This is the biggest fish landing but the figure is still small compared to the potential we have,” he said. — Bernama