Next phase of Sarawak’s reef project to focus on marine conservation, tourism

Credit: Unit Komunikasi Awam Sarawak
19/09/2022 04:57 PM

KUCHING, Sept 19 (Bernama) – The Sarawak Government will embark on the second phase of its artificial reef project under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) that will focus on promoting marine conservation and tourism.

State Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) would be tasked to carry out the project which was planned to take off next year once the allocation had been determined by the state government.

“Unlike the first phase, this second phase would take into account certain areas that had been identified for coral breeding and should there be a positive impact, diving and sports fishing will become among its tourism activities,” he said.

Credit: Unit Komunikasi Awam Sarawak

Speaking to reporters after symbolically deploying the 16,800th reef ball to mark the completion of the first phase of the project in the waters at Pulau Satang near here today, Abang Johari said the project had so far produced positive results since it started in 2018.

“Marine resources for the fishermen had increased and this definitely raised their income and create a positive impact on their life. Fishing is no longer seasonal as they got good catches all the time. The project did give a positive economic impact to the coastal communities,” he said.

Abang Johari said the project had also resulted in the number of turtles recorded to have landed on Sarawak shore to have increased with the latest sightings reported at Telok Melano in Lundu and Similajau National Park in Bintulu.

Apart from laying the reef balls along the nearly 1,000 km coastal waters from Lundu district in the southern part of Sarawak all the way up to Lawas in the north, he said the state government had also formed the Sarawak Coast Guard last year as another measure to protect its coastal front.

Meanwhile, SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton in a statement issued in conjunction with the event said Sarawak Reef Ball Project Phase One was materialised as a people’s project through a RM70 million allocation from the state government.

“Despite a slight hiccup due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SFC persistently forged forward and we managed to deploy 16,800 reef balls in 740 clusters of 20 to 30 reef balls along the coastlines of Sarawak from Tanjung Datu (in Lundu) to Lawas,” he added.