Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urges the Melaka state government to investigate and take immediate action to resolve the various problems faced by thousands of coastal fishermen in this state following coastal reclamation projects surrounding the city.
Among the problems faced by the fishers are the fishing area has been affected and diminished, marine pollution, sedimentation of mud and sand, dwindling fisheries resources, declining catch and decreasing daily income.
SAM’s survey in Sungai Lereh near Tanjung Keling found that more than 100 coastal fishers here face difficulty going out to the sea and returning to their base because the waters and estuary have become shallow due to the reclamation activities nearby.
The affected fishers’ claim that sand suctioning has caused pollution of the sea, tremors in the seabed and destroyed corals that are breeding grounds for marine life.
At the same time they also face serious problems of marine pollution because of mud dredged from the Melaka River is dumped in the coastal fishing zone. Subsequently fish and shrimp that are the main catch of coastal fishers in the area are endangered thereby affecting their daily income which has dwindled from RM100.00 to RM30.00.
SAM is disappointed that the authorities have not taken effective action to address these unresolved problems. SAM believes that adequate compensation should be given to fishers whose catch have declined.
Thus, SAM requests the Melaka Land and Mines Office, Department of Fisheries, Department of Environment, Marine Department and the Department of Irrigation and Drainage to conduct a comprehensive investigation to identify the causes which led to the various problems related to the reclamation project in this state.
Better planning and stringent enforcement of laws and regulations are needed to ensure that the environment is not affected and the livelihood of fishermen is not threatened by the project. SAM believes and concerned that if this problem is not given due attention, it will escalate to bigger problems in the future.