THE Federal Government has allocated RM2.93mil to repair fishery infrastructure damaged by the storm and floods that hit Penang on Nov 4 and 5 and to help affected fishermen and fish farmers.
The money will be disbursed through the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry.
Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said RM2mil would be used to repair fishery infrastructure while RM930,000 was allocated to assist the 280fishermen and fish farmers who suffered losses in the disaster.
A total of 4,300 fish farming cages and 407 rearing ponds belonging to 164 fish farmers were affected.
Ahmad Shabery said the Fisheries Department would provide them with fish fry, fish food, equipment and money for repair works at a rate of RM1,500 to RM2,500 per person.
“The aid totalling RM500,000 will be given out as soon as the situation improves and will be based on technical assessment and livestock suitability.”
Ahmad Shabery said this after meeting affected fishermen and fish farmers at the community hall in Pulau Aman recently.
He said the Malaysian Fisheries Development Board (LKIM) would give cash aid to 119 fishermen in Penang whose houses, fishing equipment or boats were damaged or destroyed in the disaster.
They will get up to RM10,000 for damage to their houses and from RM1,000 to RM15,000 for damage to boats and fishing equipment under the Fishermen Welfare and Natural Disaster Assistance Scheme.
In total, 30 houses and 99 boats belonging to fishermen were damaged or destroyed.
Ahmad Shabery also said LKIM allocated RM80,000 to repair the breeding cages and fishing hut belonging to the Seberang Prai Area Fishermen’s Association.
He said infrastructure damaged in the disaster included the Teluk Bahang Fisheries Complex.
Meanwhile, two fish farmers interviewed at the function claimed they suffered losses estimated at RM2mil each after the storm lashed their floating fish farms off Pulau Aman.
Tan Boon Leng, 45, said it was the worst disaster he had faced in his 30-odd years in the fish farming business.
“Of my 300 cages, 150 were destroyed,” he said.
Ong Beng Teak, 47, said the storm destroyed 120 of his 150 cages and blew off the entire roof of his farm.
He said the fish which escaped included grouper, ikan merah, siakap and jenahak.
“I hope banks will provide me with a loan to help my business recover,” said Ong, who has been in the fish farming business for over two years.
It was earlier reported that several floating fish farms, visible from the second Penang bridge, were obliterated by the storm and hundreds of tonnes of fish escaped.