Johor agriculture, agro-based and rural development committee chairman Datuk Samsolbari Jamali said the seeds were released into 11 rivers in four districts, namely Batu Pahat, Muar, Kota Tinggi and Mersing.
“The programme is conducted by the state Fisheries Department, with help from the Federal Government, and aims to ensure a sustainable source of food from the river.
“We also hope that this would educate the local community on the importance of preserving our rivers and its source from uncontrollable development,” he said when contacted.
He added that aside from preserving the ecosystem, the programme also aimed to boost the incomes of river fishermen and the local Orang Asli community.
“When these freshwater prawns and fishes mature, fishermen in the area can catch and sell them in the local market, providing them with a source of income,” he said, adding that the fishermen played a crucial role in safeguarding their source of income.
He explained that the fishermen could be the state’s eyes and ears and report on overdevelopment or pollution taking place in their areas.
The locations involved in the programme are Kampung Durian Chondong, Kampung Tekam, Kampung Chodan, Kampung Renchong and Kampung Liang Batu — all of which are connected to Sungai Muar.
The programme is also carried out at Kampung Orang Asli Tanah Abang, which is located near Sungai Endau, Mersing, Kampung Orang Asli Sayong Pinang near Sungai Sayong, Kota Tinggi, Kampung Orang Asli Sedohok near Sungai Sembrong, Kahang, and Tasik Bukit Besi and Sembrong Dam in Batu Pahat.
“Aside from ensuring that these prawns and fishes will be enjoyed by future generations, the programme also supports recreational fishing activities, which in turn, gives domestic tourism a boost.
“Some of the fish species that have been released are ikan lampam, ikan sebarau, ikan baung and ikan ketutu — familiar favourites of the surrounding community,” he said, adding that the programmes were expected to continue next year.