GOING GREEN: Fish reared in cages are considered a ‘green’ product. The vast lake created by the Bakun Dam is ideal for a large scale caged-fish industry.
by Peter Sibon. Posted on December 31, 2010, FridayKUCHING: MP says dam capable of supporting large scale ‘green’ caged-fishing
KUCHING: A French water expert has found out that the lake created by the Bakun Dam is suitable for large scale caged-fishing, notably rearing Tilapia fish, disclosed Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Billy Abit Joo.
As such he urged local investors to grab the ‘golden opportunity’ to develop the industry.
“If we develop this inland fishery, there is no problem with labour supply as there are many people in the resettlement scheme at Sg Asap who are willing to work there,” Billy told the media here yesterday.
He said once the fishing industry was fully developed, the product could be classified under a ‘green’ product label that could be easily accepted by the European market.
“The ‘green’ product label indicates that the product is safe for human consumption and that it is produced by the affected community. This will be a plus factor for us,” he explained. Billy added that since the Bakun lake is near Bintulu port, the fish products from there could be easily exported to Europe and other overseas markets.
Once fully flooded, the lake will cover an area of some 69,000 hectares (bigger in size as compared to Singapore) that is ideal for inland fishery.
“I hope the local investors will plan now so that they can be fully operational in the next six months when the present impoundment work is completed,” he said.
Billy said the effort to develop the lake for fishery should also be undertaken by government agencies to assist the local people to improve their livelihood.
He said after the people were resettled at Sg Asap, there had been no systematic approach to alleviate the livelihood of those affected.
“That is why I fully support the call by Minister of Land Development Dato Sri Dr James Masing to set up a resettlement ministry to assist those affected by major projects in future. Otherwise the people’s livelihood could not get any better. And I am scared to say that in some cases, the livelihood of those affected by the Bakun Dam project has worsened,” he pointed out.
Masing had suggested that a resettlement ministry should be set up by the government to look after the livelihood of those affected by major projects in future.
As for Sg Asap resettlement scheme, Billy explained that the government had allocated three acres of land per family when they were relocated to Sg Asap 12 years ago.
“Initially, the land was okay for cultivation of various cash crops such as pepper and ginger, but over the last 12 years the land has become infertile. We do not know the reason. That’s why we need an anchor ministry, such as resettlement ministry that would continue to assist the affected people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Billy also called on hoteliers to build hotels and resorts on the islands created by the Bakun Dam.
“The potential is there to be tapped. If all these projects are carried out, it would mean a win-win situation for everyone,” he added.