Yesterday, fishing communities along the North East coast of Penang Island held a press conference to outline their demands to all contesting election candidates in their area.
Among the most important of their demands is their call for another review of the environmental impact assessments for land reclamation being carried out in the area.
They are also calling for an end to any new land reclamation as a means of raising funds (through the sale of reclaimed land) for the state; instead they want the state to look for more sustainable sources of revenue generation.
Here is their statement:
We will support any candidate who agrees and will fight for the demands set forth in this list:
Recognition for fishermen
Recognise the fishermen’s area of Tanjung Tokong and Tanjung Bungah as a heritage fishing village. This is for the preservation of history – for the fishing community here has existed for a long time.
Prepare a masterplan for coastal fishermen which emphasises Sustainable Development Goals:
- Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
- Goal 14: Life below water
Social and economic justice for fishermen
Review and improve the processes of renewal and approval of fishing licences for coastal fisherman.
Review again the environmental impact assessment for phases one and two of the Seri Tanjung Pinang project and the Gurney Wharf project, especially the mitigation plans proposed by the developer.
All development plans which affect the coastal area of Paramount, Gurney Drive, Tanjung Tokong and Tanjung Bungah must be based on the inspiration of the fishermen of that area.
The state must reject any new reclamation project in the state of Penang.
The state must also find another alternative to generate the economy without depending on a system which ‘reclaims and sells’. Economic sources that are much more sustainable like ecotourism in a city should be created.
Safety for fishermen
Monitor illegal fishing activities as well as the intrusion of large ships in our fishing area.
Propose and implement a strategic plan for our coastal fishing community to adapt and be resilient to climate change immediately.
Environmental conservation for fishermen
Take steps to conserve and preserve our mangrove area, which was destroyed by the reclamation activity, by replanting appropriate mangrove species.
An action committee focusing on coastal and marine ecology in the area of the reclamation project should be set up to monitor all environmental issues there. The appointment of members should consist of fishermen, NGOs and academics/scientists whom the fishermen’s community agrees upon.
Fishermen’s Community of Paramount
Fishermen’s Community of Gurney Drive
Fishermen’s Community of Tanjung Tokong
Fishermen’s Association of Teluk Bahang – Tanjung Bungah Unit