No more mangrove lands for shrimp farming, says Sabah minister

Junz Wong (left) monitoring shrimp farming activities in Pitas.

KOTA KINABALU: There will be no more mangrove lands approved for shrimp farming in Sabah, says Datuk Junz Wong.

The Sabah Agriculture and Food Industries Minister said mangrove destruction for whatever purposes must be stopped for conservation.

“The destruction of valuable natural environment assets are irreversible, therefore instead of destroying the environment for wealth, we should promote and encourage agricultural economic development,” he said during a visit to the Pitas Shrimp Farm at Sungai Telaga in Pitas.

Wong urged prawn farmers to go upstream to create hatcheries, as well as downstream for prawn export.

“But of course we have to make sure that the demand of local markets are met before exporting,” he said.

Wong had also rejected a 1,000 acre mangrove land application for prawn farming.

A representative of six villages, which were initially affected once the land application was approved for shrimp farming, said the minister’s decision to ban future mangrove destruction was a dream come true for them.

“We have been pleading for the government to stop mangrove destruction and to prevent businesses from coming in to take away our mangroves,” said Mastupang Somoi.

He said the six villages involved were Kg Sungai Eloi, Kg Datong, Kg Boluuh, Kg Ungkup, Kg Gumpa and Kg Telaga.

“This also helps preserve and protect the numerous species of wildlife that are living in the area,” he said.

Mastupang said for an earlier 2,300 acre of mangrove land which have been destroyed to make way for development, he hoped the company involved would abide by rules set by the Environmental Impact Assessment.

“We also hope that the government and the company will help the villagers affected by the destruction of this mangrove land,” he added.

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