Sunday, May 02, 2010

Drive to restock river fish nationwide with native species

May 2, 2010

KOTA KINABALU: A high-tech approach is being taken to restock rivers nationwide with native species of fish, particularly those with high market value.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili his ministry’s biotechnology division was undertaking the breeding of native fish species such as ikan kelah in the peninsula, ikan pelian in Sabah and ikan empurau in Sarawak.

He said fingerlings of these species would then be released into rivers in the respective states and this would enable rural folk to receive better income from the sale of these freshwater fish.

“This will help the Government’s poverty eradication efforts,” he said after participating in a community fish harvesting event at the Sungai Kanarom in the Kota Marudu district, some 90km from the city, Sunday.

Noting the bountiful catch by Kampung Pompodon villagers, Dr Maximus said this was due to the community-based river conservation initiative, locally called tagal, that banned any fishing activities along the waterway, except once a year on an agreed date.

He said the tagal system, long practised in Kota Marudu and other Sabah districts, had been a good tool to promote rural tourism.

In this regard, Dr Maximus said the Cabinet had recently tasked the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to conduct an inventory of all tagal systems in Sabah and Sarawak and provide funding to further promote the initiative in the two states.

Kota Marudu district fisheries officer Masrani Madun said the tagal system in Kg Pompodon, which started in 1998, was one of the oldest in the district out of 23 villages that practised it to date.

Dr Maximus said the Kampung Pompodon tagal system was one of the most successful in Kota Marudu due to the cooperation of the members as well as their discipline in adhering to the rules and conditions.

The tagal system is enforced under the Native Customary Law of Sabah and under Section 35, 36 and 37 of the Freshwater and Aquaculture Fisheries Enactment 2003.

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