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Fishermen in the south coast of Penang island believe that they will have to fish off the southwest coast of the island in the next few years.
Southern Penang Fisherman Association president Arshad Omar said that when work on two artificial islands (provided for under the Penang Transport Master Plan) to be sited in their fishing ground starts, they would have to seek greener pastures.
“If the reclamation project follows through, we will have to fish near the southwest.
“It’s already crowded over there with more than 1,000 fishermen and their daily catch has dwindled over the years.
“Can you imagine if we all move there? It would definitely be a congested sea,” he said during the question-and-answer session held by the master plan’s delivery partner SRS Consortium with fishermen at Kompleks Tabung Haji yesterday.
“Also present were Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, state Local Government, Traffic and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow, state Agriculture, Agro-Based Industry, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin, Batu Maung assemblyman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim and about 400 association members.
Arshad pleaded with the Pakatan bigwigs to seek an alternative to the man-made islands and ‘not make fishermen the victims’.
Ten other fishermen also voiced their misgivings over the man-made islands proposal.
One described monetary compensation in exchange for their livelihood as ‘not a fair exchange’.
Lim urged the association to provide a solid explanation to debunk the study done by SRS Consortium.