Authorities to clamp down on illegal fishing in Tasik Kenyir
HULU TERENGGANU: Illegal fishing in Tasik Kenyir will soon come under close scrutiny as the Kenyir Rangers and four other agencies shift into action in the next four months to protect fish spawning areas in the upper reaches of major rivers around the lake.
Ketengah, the lead agency monitoring fishing activities in the lake, has already declared the Sungai Petang Kelah sanctuary closed to any form of activity. This is to ensure that the spawning ground of the Malayan mahseer or kelah is not disturbed.
“We have closed Sungai Petang to allow the kelah and other endemic fish species to spawn. The river is expected to swell soon and it will also be dangerous for the public to enter because the headwaters can rush suddenly and flush everything in its path,” said Central Terengganu Development Authority general manager Omar Ismail yesterday.
“Our Kenyir Rangers will also mount joint operations with the Fisheries Department, Forestry Department, National Parks and Wildlife Department, and the police to check illegal fishing activities in major fish spawning areas in the lake,” he told the New Straits Times.
These agencies would be monitoring activities at Sungai Cacing, Sungai Terenggan, Sungai Petuang, Sungai Kerbat, Sungai Tembat and Sungai Cergo where personnel have seized more than 150 gill nets so far this year.
He said fishes such as lampam, kelah, baung, sebarau and temoleh were highly sought and spawning season makes it even easier for these fishermen to rake in the profits. However, this will also mean that the fishes will not be able to spawn and help increase the population in the lake.
“Fishing using gill nets is against the law but these fishermen are willing to take the risk because the returns are good. They have little concern about conservation. However, Tasik Kenyir needs to uphold its popularity as an angler’s paradise and we have to check on illegal fishing.
“Even before the closure of the major rivers during the monsoon period, the Kenyir Rangers have seized many gill nets. Some nets have been left in the river and pose a danger to tourist boats,” he added.
However, Omar said the public could still fish at other locations in the lake using rod and line and Ketengah welcomes anyone who wishes to organise major fishing competition at the Sungai Leban sanctuary.