Fishermen, anglers to be 'eyes and ears' to monitor marine pollution


MARANG: Fishermen and anglers are urged to be the 'eyes and ears' to the authorities and immediately report any pollution activities at sea along with evidence such as video recordings or photographs, to enable legal action to be taken against those involved.

Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (pic) said although pollution cases at sea were still under control, the matter could not be taken lightly and needed to be monitored.

"So far, pollution (at sea) is still not alarming, but I have received unofficial complaints of irresponsible ships which dump black oil in the sea.

"However, there is no evidence since the pollution is usually done late at night.

"But the fishermen who are fishing in the middle of the night can sense black oil around the boat, the cause is not known from where.

"That's why if you can take videos and pictures of the ship involved, it's easy to take immediate action," he told reporters after officiating at the Sungai Merchang Estuary Conservation Project at Pantai Marang here on Sunday (July 3).

He said although the amount of black oil released into the sea was sometimes small and insignificant, the matter needed to be controlled because over time it would affect the lives of fish and other marine life.

"Usually these ships want to save on cleaning costs and so on," he said, adding that during his tenure oil spills were only reported on the beach at Port Dickson and at Tanjung Tuan, Melaka.

Asked whether the parties involved were believed to be the owners of merchant ships or foreign fishermen, Tuan Ibrahim said the matter could not be ascertained as there was no clear evidence thus far.

Meanwhile, he said to solve the problems of the residents in the Marang district, the Sungai Merchang Estuary Conservation Project worth RM30.5mil was implemented on Dec 15, 2021 and is expected to be completed on Dec 14, 2023.

"The project involves excavating a navigation channel from the mouth of Sungai Merchang to the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority Jetty, construction of breakwater structures, retaining wall structures, protection layers and coastal fertilisation.

"Once the project is completed, it will allow fishermen and tourist boat entrepreneurs to get into and out of the sea safely.

"It protects more than 100 registered boats from being damaged due to shallow estuary and waves," he said.

According to him, the Federal government also approved the implementation of the Coastal Erosion Control Project in Pantai Marang at a cost of RM15.6mil and the project started on Jan 4 and is expected to be completed within two years.

He said among the scope of the project was a 2.2-kilometre coastal fertilisation work to address erosion, coastal floods and protect the coastline as well as reduce the risk of property damage and loss of lives. - Bernama

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