RM2.7mil for marine conservation efforts

Zainudin (squatting, right) and Samsolbari (on his right) releasing baby sea turtles hatched at the hatchery in Pulau Tinggi, Mersing. — Filepic

Johor Fisheries Department will appoint 60 additional licensed sea turtle egg collectors next year.

Department director Zainudin Abd Wahab said the licence would not only be given to islanders in Mersing but also fishermen to help them earn a side income.

The department, he added, had received a RM2.5mil allocation from the state government and another RM200,000 to improve the sea turtle and marine conservation programme at the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park in Mersing.

Zainudin thanked state agriculture, agro-based and rural development committee chairman Datuk Samsolbari Jamali for the biggest allocation given to the department.

“Some of the money will be used to buy turtle eggs from collectors who are villagers on the islands off Mersing,” he said at his office in Iskandar Puteri.

Zainudin said the department planned to buy back 20,000 sea turtle eggs, which would later be hatched at its turtle hatchery in Pulau Tinggi, Mersing.

“Currently, we have about 20 licensed sea turtle egg collectors and we are looking forward to adding another 60 not only in Mersing but around the coastal areas of Kota Tinggi as well.

“Each egg is bought for RM2.50.

“If the collectors can get about 100 eggs from one turtle, they can easily make RM2,500 in a day,” he said, adding that each turtle could lay between 100 and 150 eggs at one time.

On another matter, Zainudin said the department had issued a monsoon warning to all fishermen to be extra careful when coming out to the sea this month and in January.

“We have placed buoys along the shoreline in the east and west coast of the state territorial water areas for small boats and fishermen to tether their boats if weather conditions worsen.

“We are also working with the marine police and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency to conduct rescue operations for small boats stranded in the ocean during bad weather,” he said.

Zainudin added that the department was also working closely with the agency to monitor the state’s territorial waters.

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