Saturday, 3 May 2003

Assemblymen call for more studies on inland fishes

KUCHING - Three State Assemblymen yesterday called for solutions that would enable sustainable breeding of precious but drastically dwindling inland fishes, namely Empurau and Terubok.

Lee Kim Shin (BN - Senadin) suggested that studies and research to be carried out to enable simulated breeding of Empurau fish, which could be only be found in the upper reaches of the Rajang River near Kapit.

The rare but delicious fish, which commands a high market price of RM180 per kilo, has experienced a decline in its population due to overfishing.

"Continued indiscriminate overfishing may eventually lead to extintion (of Empurau fish). Research should be carried out on the possibility of having simulated habitat for Empurau fish hatcheries," he said, when debating the new state Inland Fisheries Bill 2003.

Based on initial studies, Empurau fish can only breed in fast flowing streams, notably the Pelagus rapids.

Meanwhile, during the same debate session, Abdul Karim Hamzah (BN - Asajaya) suggested that the government gazette the lower reaches of Batang Lupar and Batang Lassa as fisheries sanctuary for the breeding of Terubok fish.

"This is due to the suitable water properties and planktons in these two rivers," he said, adding that there was a real need for these two spawning grounds to be protected for the long term survival of Terubok in Sarawak.