MIRI: Sarawak wants to create another 3,000 artificial reefs in 100 different spots on the seabed in the South China Sea off the state’s 1,000km-long shorelines.
These reefs will have the dual purpose of functioning as diving havens and also as places to facilitate the multiplication of fish population for the deepsea fishing industry.
State Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg had sought the help of Petronas and the fisheries authorities on this plan.
Speaking at a dinner here on Sunday in conjunction with the Miri International Deepsea Fishing Contest 2017, Lee said so far 25 offshore locations along the shorelines in Miri had been built with artificial reefs.
“The state wants to work with Petronas to get them to convert unused oil rigs into artificial reefs.
“We are also seeking the help of fisheries authorities to convert old fishing vessels into artificial reefs, too,” he said.
He added that efforts would also be made to create huge reef balls and sink them into the seabed.
“We hope to create another 3,000 artificial reefs in 100 different spots in the coastal waters off Sarawak to serve as diving havens and to stock up our fishing resources for the future,” he said.
Commenting on the event, Lee said he was glad to see more than 100 anglers from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Iran, South Korea, Brunei and Britain taking part in the fishing competition.
He lauded that the annual competition in Miri was truly an international event.
“Many marine creatures can be found offshore Miri. This goes to show that Sarawak waters have interesting features.
“The seabeds are beautiful and pristine,” he added.
As such, the state will be promoting sport fishing internationally, he said.
“Since there are direct flights from Singapore to Miri weekly, I have suggested to the airline to work with Miri to start a weekend fishing and shopping package.
“I have also spoken to my counterparts in the Tourism Ministry of China to take part in sport fishing here,” he added.
He called on angling clubs to play their role to help conserve Sarawak’s marine resources.