By Emma Victoria
SARAWAK plans to place 16,800 artificial reef balls along the state’s coastline from Tanjung Datu to Lawas, under the Sarawak Reef Ball Project.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg said it covers over 1,000 km, and will become the world longest artificial reef balls deployment.
“I initiated the program two years ago under Project Rakyat and allocated RM70 million to protect marine resources from illegal trawling.
“The reef balls will also encourage the growth of marine life and prevent damage to the seabed.
“As such, this will also increase the catch and incomes for our local fishermen,” he said during the launching ceremony to deploy 1,100 artificial reef balls in Sampadi-Tanjung Datu waters in Sematan today.
He said fishermen in Belawai and Mukah are earning more after the reef balls were deployed in their areas.
“In the past, they could only earn RM100 but they are making RM300 per day now,” he said.
“When I was informed that the initiative will cost about RM70 million, I didn’t think much and decided to go ahead as it will benefit our people living along the coastal areas,” he said.
He added that it will also boost the eco-tourism of the areas, creating jobs and business opportunities for the local community.
More than 5,000 artificial reef balls have so far been deployed in various locations along the coastline.