The income of nearly 200 fishermen in Sungai Batu, near Pantai Remis, Manjung district in Perak has been affected following offshore tin mining activities by a company in their fishing area.
The problem faced by the fishermen since the offshore tin mining operations began last month has resulted in fish and shrimp catches to decline and fishermen fear that their catch would further dwindle.
In a recent survey conducted by Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) it was found that the tin mining operation was a mere 500 meters from the coastline causing pollution of coastal fishing zone.
Fishermen reported that the sea water in the area was silted, dirty and stinks. Waters near the coast here has become shallow due to residual sludge.
An affected fisherman, Mohd Norsham bin Non, 26, said in addition to the severe problem of marine pollution caused by the mining operations, he was concerned that corals in the nearby area that are breeding grounds of marine life would also be destroyed.
He was worried and believes that if the activity is continued, marine resources such as shrimp will become extinct because the shrimp breeding area here will be adversely affected and subsequently impact the live and livelihood of fisher families.
Mohd Norsham hopes that the relevant parties will take immediate action to resolve this issue before the current marine pollution spreads and worsens.
SAM is perplexed how this mining operation was approved and allowed to operate in an area which could trigger a threat to the environment, fisheries resources and local livelihoods.
The Department of Environment which has approved the Environmental Impact Assessment report for the proposed offshore tin mining project at Pantai Tanjung Batu, Mukim Pengkalan Baharu, Daerah Manjung, Perak on 17 December 2013 should strictly monitor the mining operation here to ensure that the project proponent complies with the conditions imposed.
SAM urges prompt investigations are conducted by the authorities and if they fail to overcome the problems, the mining operations should be stopped immediately.
SAM also hoped that the fishermen whose source of income has been affected as a result of the mining operations are paid fair and sufficient compensation by the mining company according to decline of catches suffered by them.
S.M. MOHAMED IDRIS