Malaysia: Sg Pulai estuary in Johor faces environmental threat

New Straits Times 20 Jul 11;

MARINE species at the Sungai Pulai Estuary, many of which are endangered, stand to lose their habitat due to development.

This has led various government officials, businessmen, politicians, fishermen, researchers and environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to collaborate on priority protection issues and identify affected areas at the river estuary in a workshop at Gelang Patah recently.

The aim was to have systematic conservation planning for the river estuary in southwest Johor, which hosts several endangered species while being extremely rich in fish.

The cause for alarm came after estuary was earmarked for major industrial development which also threatens the livelihood of inshore fishermen.

At the workshop, several conservation options were studied.

The governmental group, which included those from the Department of Fisheries, Department of Marine Parks, Department of Drainage and Irrigation, the Forestry Department and the Johor National Parks, aimed at keeping half of the ecological conservation criteria.

So did researchers from local universities and research institutes, fishermen and politicians.

The project is led by Choo Chee Kuang, a marine biologist at the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, and is under the Malaysian Society of Marine Sciences. -- By Chuah Bee Kim