The Fishermen's Association of Penang (Pen Mutiara) today urged the state government to rehabilitate seawater which is believed to be polluted by sea reclamation projects, before embarking on any new projects, including the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project.
Pen Mutiara chairperson Nazri Ahmad said the sea pollution caused by the disposal of reclamation waste from ongoing projects has led to the depletion of marine sources such as fish, shrimp and crabs over the last two years.
“We speak from experience, because our own fishermen see the condition of the sea every day and know the water is polluted. Even now, when the fishermen go out to fish, we get more junk than fish,” he told a press conference today.
Nazri said the restoration of seawater quality should be undertaken immediately to ensure the sustainability of marine ecosystems for the benefit of all, especially fishermen whose livelihoods would be severely affected.
Ongoing projects at Tanjung Tokong beach and Gurney Drive have damaged the water quality from Penang Strait to Teluk Bahang, including the tourist beach in Batu Feringghi, he claimed.
Nazri also called on the Penang government to resolve issues related to the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (Borr) reclamation project.
“To date, the fishermen involved have not received the compensation balance of more than RM3,000 as promised, and the permanent resettlement for fishermen in Butterworth, consisting of quarters and a jetty, has yet to be fulfilled,” he said.
The Penang Fisheries Department, meanwhile, denied allegations that the death of thousands of fish raised in cages in Teluk Bahang waters was caused by poisoning and pollution, as was claimed on social media recently.
In a statement, the department said the true cause of the deaths was still being investigated by the University Sains Malaysia Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (Cemacs) and the Environment Department.