JERLUN: The 409 artificial reefs placed along the Kedah coastlines will not only help restore the fish population but also protect the area from trawler intrusion.
Kedah Fisheries Department officer Ikhwaty Ibrahim said the artificial reefs have so far contributed to the increase of fish production in the state over the past nine years.
She said the reefs can be found along Tanjung Dawai and Sanglang waters, near Pulau Payar and also off the Langkawi island.
"We still need at least five artificial reefs to further protect the state's marine resources," she said during a visit to Kuala Jerlun jetty here today.
She said as of last year, about 98,551 metric tonnes of fish were landed compared to about 87,878 metric tonnes in 2015.
Ikhwaty said the artificial reefs acted as breeding grounds for new species of fish including 'alu-alu' and 'ebek'.
Meanwhile, Kuala Jerlun fisherman Shukri Ismail, 47, applauded the department's effort, saying that the project has ensured that the fishermen received continuous supply of fish.
"Most of us here are coastal fishermen and the reefs ensured we will bring back some fish each time we go out to sea," he said.
He urged the government to consider building more of such reefs as it also deterred trawler operators from encroaching into the areas.