PUSA: Sarawak will introduce a new regulation to prevent over-exploitation of ikan terubok, a fish which is in high demand.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said catching of the fish would not be allowed at certain times of the year to allow it to breed and mature.
The male terubok, known locally as empirit, upon reaching adult size would turn into female and then swim back into the river to produce.
He said there should be no harvesting of the empirit so that the fish could grow and breed to increase its population for sustainable fishing.
“The people should be imparted with such knowledge to help them understand more about the habits of the fish,” he said at a joint Christmas and Hari Raya gathering here in Betong Division on Sunday.
Due to over-exploitation of the empirit, the fish has suffered a sharp decline in population since the early 1990s. The authorities have warned that it might become extinct.
To stop the decline, the state government, in collaboration with an Australian research institution, has carried out a study and breeding programme on the terubok about 10 years ago.
Taib said the state government planned to set up three terubok processing factories – in Batang Saribas, Batang Lupar and Batang Lassa areas.
Terubok fish was found in abundance in the early days in these three rivers. Its eggs are well sought after and can fetch RM150 per kg in the market.
State Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Adenan Satem is expected to meet the locals in the three areas for support for the proposed projects and to get them involved in the management and conservation programmes of the terubok fish.