Stop aquaculture projects to protect diminishing marine resources in Kerian district

Dead cockles scooped up by fisherman in Kuala Sepetang — picture from The Star

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) urges the Perak state government and Fisheries Department to take immediate action to resolve the problem of dwindling cockle harvest in Kuala Sepetang in Kerian District, Perak. This issue should be seriously addressed by the authorities because it not only involves the source of income of the affected breeders and fishers but also our food supply.

Commenting on recent press reports regarding this matter, CAP believes that water pollution and the destruction of mangrove forests here are possibly threatening the farmed cockles and also natural breeding ground in this area. Since the beginning of 2015 the production of cockles in Kuala Sepetang has dwindled from 28,000 tonnes to 13,000 tonnes at present.

Therefore, CAP requests the Department of Environment (DOE) and other relevant departments and agencies to investigate the waste treatment and discharge systems of all industrial operators and prawn breeding projects in the area.

CAP has received many complaints from local fishers that their daily income has been affected till 70% due to river and sea pollution occurring in this area. Fish, shrimp, cockles, mussels and crabs that used to generate good income previously has declined. The fishers have to go further out to sea to catch fish due to the dwindling fish stock near the shore.

CAP is aggrieved that even though river and marine pollution in the district of Kerian has been going on for so long but until now no effective action has been taken by the authorities. More disappointing is the fact that shrimp farming that has destroyed vast area of mangroves here still continues without control although it has serious adverse effects on the environment in this state, especially in the districts of Kerian and Manjung.

CAP proposes that the government of Perak stops and bans all aquaculture projects in the state as it has affected the environment and socio-economy of the local community. This includes the Arowana fish breeding project near Bukit Merah which has damaged fertile paddy fields and caused problems for farmers in the area.

Press Release, 9 July 2015