KUALA LUMPUR, March 2, 2015:

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) wants the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry to investigate an aquaculture project in Kerian, allegedly affecting some 2,000 coastal fishermen in Perak.

Its president S.M Mohamed Idris, in a statement, claimed that shrimp farming activities which began 20 years ago had not only destroyed hundreds of hectares of mangroves in the district but also caused marine pollution and threatened fisheries resources in the district’s coastal areas.

He also “regretted” that no remedial action was taken despite the state government, relevant departments and agencies being alerted about the problem.

“In fact, the problem has become more serious.

“CAP’s survey in Kuala Kurau, Sungai Betul, Sungai Labu and Kuala Bagan Tiang found that the income of coastal fishermen has been seriously affected due to the shrimp farming operations here.”

He added fish, prawns, cockles, crabs and shell-fish which were the main catch for coastal fisher folk here had dwindled and some of the species were near extinction.

Mohamed explained that prior to the operation of the aquaculture project, fishermen could earn a daily income of RM100, but now they could only earn a meagre RM15.

He said besides the loss of vast areas of mangrove forests, pollution from shrimp pond effluents had threatened various species of aquatic life there.

In addition to the threat to coastal fishing, Mohamed alleged that the incomes of shrimp-paste producers and cockle breeders had been affected due to the polluted waters.

The felling of mangrove trees by the shrimp farmers, he claimed was rampant and they did not care about the adverse impact to the environment and livelihood of coastal fishermen.

“CAP also found that river reserves under the jurisdiction of the Department of Irrigation and Drainage have been affected by shrimp farming here.

“The Land and Mines Office must investigate and take stringent action if it is found that shrimp farmers here have breached the law.”

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