Close the arowana ponds now — Protect the water supply of consumers and farmers

altThe Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) is outraged to learn that the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar had declared that the fish farm project in Bukit Merah will remain as the site has been gazetted.

Datuk Seri Noh Omar was commenting on CAP’s call that the Ministry cancels the arowana breeding project that would adversely affect paddy growing area in the Kerian District and involves widespread water pilfering from the irrigation canals. The project will also affect the water supply of 200,000 residents in nearby towns.

We are disappointed that the Ministry is not concerned of the irregularities resulting from the project such as violation of land use whereby agriculture land designated for permanent paddy production is being displaced for ornamental fish breeding; and outright water siphoning from irrigation canals which cannot be stopped by the authorities due to concerns of safety of government staff.

What is the Ministry’s rationale of gazetting this arowana breeding project in a productive paddy growing area.  It is very frustrating to learn that the government itself is condoning the breaking of land laws and policies on food security.

The Minister also mentioned that it is up to the Perak State government to solve the problem as it involves land matter. Does this mean that the State is supposed to approve and gazette the conversion of agriculture land to industrial aquaculture?

The Perak State Government must not approve this land conversion and instead take immediate measures to take action against the arowana breeders who have flouted laws and compel them to cease operations and rehabilitate the affected areas to enable paddy cultivation.

Press Release, 23 November 2010

Read the CAP Press Statement on how the 3,808 Arowana breeding ponds threaten water supply of 10,000 padi farmers and 200,000 consumers in Kerian, Perak