Sabah to launch new initiative to thwart illegal fish bombing activities

BRANDON JOHN


KOTA KINABALU: A new government initiative will be introduced in a bid to dissuade illegal fish bombing activities in Sabah.

According to State Tourism, Culture, and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, the blue economy initiative will introduce alternative sources of income and is part of a more holistic approach to tackling the problem.

“The reality here is that these people rely on fish bombing to feed their families – we cannot simply take away their only means of livelihood.

“Hence, a better approach is to encourage them to join other sectors such as eco-tourism,” he told reporters after launching a state anti-fish bombing symposium here.

Fish bombing, which is the illegal practice of using explosives to gather fish, is prolific in Sabah waters with 2,568 reported cases from 2010 to 2015.

Current initiatives to eliminate the issue such as law enforcement and awareness campaigns are insufficient, Pang asserted.

“Fish bombing will continue to plague Sabah unless the root of the problem – why people do it – is tackled,” he reasoned.

The symposium is organised by the Sabah Anti-Fish Bombing Task Force which consists of various agencies.

This two-day meeting involves government agencies and non-governmental organisations such as Reef Check and WWF Malaysia in a joint effort to stop the practice.