BALIK PULAU: Some 50 fishermen are protesting over the clearing of thousands of mangrove trees at a 93ha site in Kuala Jalan Baru which will be turned into a shrimp farm.
Penang Fishermen’s Association chairman Md Zainol Ajamin said the trees which were hailed a life-saving barrier when the tsunami hit in 2004 had been felled.
“And the worst is yet to come as the ponds will then be peppered with heavy doses of chemicals to prevent fish from breeding and eating the cultivated shrimps,” he told reporters at the site.
The fishermen also protested the setting up of the shrimp farm.
Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohd Idris claimed that the present shrimp farms had already been causing serious environmental problems since they started more than 10 years ago.
“The income of coastal fishermen has dropped to between RM400 and RM800 a month when they used to bring in RM2,000 a month,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Mohamed Idris said an investigation by the Environmental Health Division of the Penang Island City Council showed that the effluent from the shrimp ponds discharged into the trenches had led to clogging and water retention.
State Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh, when contacted, said he would look into the grievances of the fishermen.
Teluk Bahang assemblyman Datuk Shah Headan Hussain Ayob Shah urged the state authorities to visit the place to talk to the fishermen.