Project Without EIA Approval Threatens Coastal Mangroves and Livelihood of Fisher Communities: SAM Urges Reclamation Project in Kuala Kedah is Stopped Immediately

Reclamation Project in Kuala Kedah.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urges the Department of Environment to take urgent action to stop the reclamation project at Kampung Tepi Laut near Kuala Kedah because it has contravened environmental regulations and has destroyed mangroves and threatens source of income of coastal fisher community here.

Fisherman showing the Reclamation Project site.

SAM is upset with the Kedah government and the local authority for allowing the activities to be carried out since a few months ago although the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project has yet to be approved. The EIA report is being exhibited for public review from March 5 to March 25, 2017.

SAM’s survey found approximately 1 km of the sea here has been reclaimed by the project developer and nearly 10 hectares of mangroves along the coast have been affected, besides threatening marine life and income of 500 local fisher families who make a living in the area.

Coastal and traditional fishers in Kampung Tepi Laut and Kampung Tengku Laksamana lamented that since the reclamation project began their daily catch has decreased between 20 and 30% because their main catch of fish, prawns, crabs, cockles, mussels and clams have dwindled and are fast depleting.

Previously the traditional and coastal fishers can earn RM100.00 a day but now they only get between RM40.00 to RM80.00 per day. The situation will become more serious if the reclamation project proceeds and the coastal mangroves are destroyed. SAM is disappointed that although the villagers especially the fishermen here had initially protested the reclamation project in the area but their objection was ignored and the project was endorsed by the state government.

In addition to threatening the fishery resources in the waters off Kuala Kedah and adversely affecting the livelihoods of fishermen here, the impact to the environment will worsen when mangroves that are breeding grounds of marine life are destroyed and fishing area in zone A is threatened with contamination of sediments from the reclamation works here.

Thus, SAM requests the Director General of the Department of Environment and the Kedah government to stop the project development in the area because the project has violated the Environmental Quality Act (Amendment 2012) and will have adverse impact on the environment and local livelihoods.

Media Statement, 15 March 2017