Penang exco warns aquaculture operators against illegally clearing mangrove forests

Penang exco warns aquaculture operators against illegally clearing mangrove forests

GEORGE TOWN,. The Penang government will crack down on firms that illegally cleared mangroves in Balik Pulau for aquaculture farms, state exco Dr Afif Bahardin said.

The Health, Agriculture, Agro-based Industries and Rural Development Committee chairman noted that there were already several areas specifically gazetted for aquaculture farms in Balik Pulau.

He said such farms went through the proper process of obtaining approvals from the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) but noted there were some illegal ones operating in the area.

“We were informed that there were some illegal farms there, so we will take action against the operators and they will have to restore the mangrove swamps they had cleared,” he said during a press conference after officiating the launch of IMT-GT Uninet Conference in Jen Hotel here.

Dr Afif said the state government was keen to grow the multi-billion ringgit aquaculture industry in the state but stressed that this must be done in a sustainable manner.

The state government is also in the process of creating an Aquaculture Industrial Zone in Penang, he said, before adding that this was undergoing an environmental impact assessment.

Around 202ha in the zone will be set aside to develop hatcheries.

He said the state has a fish hatchery in the Batu Kawan Agropark but more could be created to further boost the industry via the Aquaculture Industrial Zone.

“The agriculture and aquaculture industry can grow along with Industrial Revolution 4.0,” he said.

He said the agriculture industry in Penang has the potential to produce the best seeds, and in aquaculture, the best hatcheries in the region.