Malaysia: Check impact of shrimp farms on ecology

The Star 23 Mar 17;

GEORGE TOWN: Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) wants the state Fisheries Department to study the pollution impact of aquaculture ponds, especially those at shrimp farms, on the west side of Penang island and publicly disclose the findings.

It is concerned that the state’s mangrove forests and fisheries resources would be destroyed if more shrimp farms are constructed without a thorough study of their impact on the environment.

“Our recent survey found that the ditches on the west side of the island were filled with sludge and debris from residential areas and aquaculture ponds. The smelly water is black and frothy,” said SAM president S.M. Mohamed Idris.

He said there were several drains and canals in the area through which the black water flows directly into the sea.

“This pollution threatens marine life and the livelihood of about 2,000 fishermen in Kuala Sungai Pinang, Pantai Acheh, Kuala Sungai Burung and Pulau Betong who have complained of smaller catches of fish, shrimp, crabs, mussels and clams.”

Mohamed Idris said Consumers Association of Penang and the affected fishermen had complained to the state government and the Penang Island City Council but claimed no action had been taken.

“SAM believes that if this pollution is not taken seriously and allowed to continue, not only will the environment here be destroyed in twenty years but the fish will die off, causing the fishermen to lose their livelihood.”

Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said he would seek more information from the state Drainage and Irrigation Department before commenting.

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