KUCHING: The state government’s continuous efforts and commitment in preventing Empurau (fish) from extinction has received due recognition; it was awarded the bronze medal at the National Intellectual Property Award (NIPA) 2017 recently.
State Science Research advisor Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said the achievement proved that the state government’s initiative in preserving the exotic fish had now caught the attention of the authorities at the national level.
“This award, which we won under the Trademark and Geography Indication category, is the fruit of our 28 years of labour in protecting Empurau. We will hand over this medal to the state government as proof of our efforts in the preservation of Empurau,” he told a press conference at Kuching International Airport’s VIP Terminal after attending the award ceremony in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.
Jabu said the state’s entry called ‘Sarawak’s Empurau Fish’ was presented on May 9 before it was announced as one of the winners on June 22.
He added that he would soon discuss with officers of the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism to obtain an intellectual property certificate for Empurau at global level.
“This proves that the government is serious in protecting the state’s natural resources.
“With this certificate, nobody can claim that Empurau belongs to them. We can also protect Empurau as an intellectual property of Sarawak,” he said.
Jabu said Empurau was chosen to participate in NIPA because only Sarawak had this fish, which is also known by its scientific name ‘Tortambroides’.
“Since 1989, the state government has realised that Empurau may be threatened with extinction because many people were fishing for them due to the high market price.”
As such, he said a research institute (Empurau Fish Research Station) that he himself headed, was set up in Tarat in 1991 to carry out research and development (R&D) and then to release juvenile Empurau fingerlings into rivers.
“With this integrated management, I am confident that Empurau will not go extinct in the state and this is what we presented at NIPA,” he added.