IDENTIFY CAUSES OF DECLINE, URGES MNS
Govt must quickly come up with workable solutions, says group
THE Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) has urged the government to be more proactive in identifying causes and coming up with solutions to protect the country’s mangrove forests.
Its vice-president, Vincent Chow, said the issue of dwindling mangroves was cause for concern and there must be a concerted effort by all parties involved to protect them.
“This is the high price we have to pay for development.
“In southwestern Johor, in areas such as Gelang Patah and Pontian, there is an obvious reduction in the size of mangrove forests because of development in the coastal areas.
“Besides the environmental impact, this issue affects the livelihood of fishermen who fish in coastal waters as mangrove forests are important breeding grounds for fish,” said Chow, who is also Johor MNS branch chairman.
He said he had spoken to fishermen from southwestern Johor, who complained that there was a decline in the number of fish caught each time they went out to sea.
“They said there were not enough fish in the sea and that the variety of fish had declined.
“This is mainly because of a lack of area for the fish to breed.”
He said fishermen had complained that some fish species common in the past were extinct now.
“Fishermen have noticed they can no longer land catches of selar kuning, terubuk, selayang
and ungga in several areas near the mangroves,” he said.
Chow said this in response to a New Straits Times report yesterday that said Penang was facing a risk of losing its mangrove forests within the next 10 years if unmitigated development continued to encroach on the areas.
“Of course, we can’t stop development, but there must be a balance between development and protecting mangrove forests.
“This effort is not only important for the environment but also for the people who live in coastal areas.”
He said policymakers should be more serious in tackling this issue and come up with workable solutions quickly before more mangrove forests were destroyed.
“They should come up with a concrete plan to resolve this problem.”
Of course, we can’t stop development, but there must be a balance between development and protecting mangrove forests.
VINCENT CHOW Malaysian Nature Society vice-president