IDEN­TIFY CAUSES OF DE­CLINE, URGES MNS

Govt must quickly come up with work­able so­lu­tions, says group

New Straits Times - - News - RIZALMAN HAMMIM news@nst.com.my

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

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