Apr 28, 2009

Entire fish species disappearing from Malaysian waters

Sira Habibu, The Star 28 Apr 09;
GEORGETOWN: More than 80 types of fish have either become extinct or gone missing from local waters, said Sahabat Alam Malaysia president S. M. Mohd Idris.

These include various varieties of yu, pari, gelama, pelata, bagok, semilang and kurau.

Describing the situation as alarming, Mohd Idris said it was high time the authorities implemented preventive measures to safeguard the fisheries sector.

“Our fisheries sector is in crisis because of the lack of effective policies and laws on the conservation of marine resources, as well as a lack of enforcement of existing laws,” he said at the National Fisheries Dialogue here Tuesday.

Mohd Idris said the dialogue was organised by Sahabat Alam Malaysia to identify weaknesses in policies and practices, and to suggest ideas for sustainable and effective management of fisheries resources.

“The other objective is to advocate strong and sustainable fisheries policies that emphasise the interdependency of ecosystems and communities,” he said.

“The authorities must also take measures to check the destruction of marine life habitats. There must be a concerted effort to protect mangrove forests, sea grass and coral reefs,” he said.

He said that the impact of modern fishery practices must also be looked into, and added that there was no long-term policy to protect the coastal ecosystem.

“Extinction, over-exploitation and the depletion of fisheries resources must be addressed in the fourth Malaysian Fisheries Policy that is currently being formulated.

“Draft copies of the policy should be made available to the public, and a platform must be given for groups to give feedback and highlight concerns,” he added.

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