Saturday, July 4

SFC deploys 1,200 artificial reef balls at Muara Tebas-Sebuyau coastal waters

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(From third left) Abang Johari alongside Abdul Karim, Wan Junaidi and others standing at the ship’s deck during the launching ceremony. – Photo by SFC

KUCHING: The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) is deploying 1,200 artificial reef balls at the Muara Tebas-Sebuyau coastal waters, as part of the RM70 million Sarawak Reef Ball Project (SRBP) to further intensify marine life conservation.

SFC said the deployment which started today will take about one week to complete.

“This is part of the Sarawak Reef Ball Project (SRBP), which is inspired by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s great vision for conservation and protection.

“The project, kicked off in 2018, aims to deploy 17,200 reef balls along the whole coastline of Sarawak – from Tanjung Datu to Lawas, to protect and conserve marine ecosystems, to create new eco-tourism sites for scuba diving and sport fishing.

“This will improve local community’s livelihood by enhance marine resources and protect their fishing grounds from illegal trawling activities,” the corporation said in a statement today.

So far, SFC deployed 600 units of reef balls in Belawai-Paloh coastal waters in 2018, 600 units and 1,200 units in Lawas and Igan to Mukah coastal waters respectively last year.

Abang Johari, who is also SFC chairman, said the SRBP was an exemplary conservation project that had not only benefited the marine wildlife and ecosystem, but also improving the livelihood of local fishermen.

This was evident by the success in the waters of Sematan and Belawai where the amount of catches had improved significantly after reef balls had been deployed, he added.

“As we progressively keep the Sarawak’s coastal waters away from illegal trawlers, marine species would be able to grow and reproduce and local fishermen living along the shores can have better catch and income,” he said at the launching ceremony.

With the corporation showing exemplary steadfastness in being persistent and resolute in seeing to its implementation, the chief minister had set aside a substantial allocation of RM70 million to finance the project.

Among those present at the ceremony were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Assistant Minister of Urban Development and Resources Datu Len Talif Salleh, state secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.