Malaysia: Gov says no more Shrimp farms will be approved in Mangrove forests

The Perak Government will not legalise any prawn farm found to be
endangering fragile coastlines and mangrove areas, said Mentri Besar
Datuk Seri Moham-mad Nizar Jamaluddin. He said the state was currently
only asking some 5,000 prawn breeders in the state to provide feedback
on the status of their farms before evaluating whether it would
legalise the industry.

“We are not legalising it (the industry) now,”
he told reporters after receiving an Honorary Fellowship Award from
the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) in Ipoh recently. “If it
is proven that the farms are endangering the shoreline and species, we
will not give approval. We will suggest another place for them.” he
said after Sahabat Alam Malaysia president S.M. Mohamed Idris
expressed shock that the Pakatan Rakyat government wanted to legalise
the estimated 3,000 illegal prawn ponds in Manjung’s mangrove forests.
The environment group had described it as “akin to rewarding the law
breakers” and encouraging other states to follow suit. Last month,
state executive councillor Nga Kor Ming had said the government was
considering a new policy to legalise the industry to protect the
farmers’ interests and check excessive encroachment into mangrove
swamps.

Nizar said the state would give consideration to those prawn
farmers whose farms were located on state land but not slated for
future projects, while alternative land would be offered to the rest.
On another matter, he said the state was preparing a working paper to
include all district engineers as members of their district action
committees. He said having the input of engineers earlier in the
planning stage would help prevent future disasters like the Highland
Towers and Bukit Antarabangsa tragedies.
http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2008/12/29/north/2903699&sec=north

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