Pitas firm gets EIA approval

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 15 Jan 2015

KOTA KINABALU: The company carrying out controversial mangrove clearing for a shrimp aquaculture project in Sabah’s northern Pitas has obtained environmental impact assessment (EIA) approval.

“As the EIA report for the project has been approved, any mangrove clearing within the project boundary is considered legal. No action will be taken against them unless they contravene the specified requirements,” said state environmental department director Datuk Yabi Yangkat.

The EIA allows the project proponents to carry out mangrove swamp clearing for the project.

Yabi said this yesterday to clear the air over mangrove swamps clearing in Pitas amid concerns raised by the Sabah Environmental Protection Association that the project had no approved EIA.

Yabi said among the conditions of the EIA was for the project developers to put in place mitigation measures for wildlife corridors, mangrove buffer zones, riparian reserves and rehabilitation of certain disturbed mangrove areas.

The aquaculture project is a joint venture between Sunlight Inno Seafood Sdn Bhd and state-owned Yayasan Sabah subsidiary Inno Fisheries Sdn Bhd. The EIA was prepared by DH Water and Environmental Consultant (M) Sdn Bhd.

The terms and reference for the project were submitted on May 13, 2013, and approved by the state environment department on July 10 that year.

This was followed up with the submission of the EIA report on April 29 last year that was initially rejected by the EIA review committee on June 5 but approved on Dec 19 after issues of concern were resolved.

Yabi said his department was aware of the environmental sensitivity of the project and that the EIA implementation would be monitored closely.

He said the company was fined RM30,000 on Aug 1, 2013 for commencing work on the project without EIA approval.

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