Artificial reefs worth RM5.1mil placed in Johor waters for conservation, fisheries boost

MERSING: A total of 130 artificial reefs or "tukun" costing RM5.1mil have been anchored since 2007 to enhance biological productivity and fishery resources in the waters of Johor.

State agriculture, agro-based industry and rural development committee chairman Datuk Zahari Sarip (pic) said the programme was among the Johor government’s efforts to increase marine resources so as to ensure national food security.

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"We are committed to ensuring that our goals of preserving the environment, conserving resources and maintaining biodiversity of fisheries can be achieved.

"However, there are differences in the functions of reefs. Those used for conservation are meant to prevent trawler invasions, while another type, the 'unjam’, is for the purpose of shoaling to facilitate fishing operations and recreational fishing,” he said in a statement on Wednesday (Oct 19).

For the record, he noted that nine conservation tukun worth RM280,000 and 200 units of unjam valued at RM200,000 have been placed in Johor waters this year.

Zahari was on a working visit to the Unjam and Tukun Anchoring Programme here implemented by the state Fisheries Department with the cooperation of the Pulau Besar, Pulau Aur and Pulau Pemanggil communities.

Also present was department director Zainudin Abd Wahab.

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Zahari said the artificial reef construction protocol was in accordance with the British Standard 8110 which required the concrete cover to be at least 55mm thick.

"Tests were carried out on the concrete cubes used and tensile tests on the reinforced steel were also carried out at the Sirim laboratory.

"Newly-completed tukun will be allowed to set for 28 days to fully harden. They are deployed by free fall using cranes.

"There is a gap of between 2m and 4m separating every module of a tukun. Divers will check the positions of the modules and do a video recording for monitoring and reference purposes,” he said.

"The unjam, comprising culverts (weights), buoys, ropes and coconut fronds tied with rattanare taken out to sea on fishing boats and then anchored at a suitable location," he explained. – Bernama

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