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Tagal system for 600 more river zones in Sabah

Published on: Sunday, January 19, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin said the 'tagal' (community-based fisheries resource management) system would be implemented in 600 more river zones in Sabah within the next two years.

He said the number was an addition to the existing 511, initiated by the Fisheries Department in partnership with riparian residents.

"Hopefully, the system could be adapted to all the rivers in Sabah so they could be rehabilitated and sustain our fishery resources," he told reporters here Saturday after launching the system at Petagas River.

Yahya, who is also State Agriculture and Food Industry Minister, also released more than 5,000 fish and prawn fries into the river.

The tagal system entails zoning certain sections of the river, which would then remain off-limits to fishing activities for a certain period to allow the resources to flourish before being harvested jointly by the villagers involved.

Encroachers would be penalised with a fine under the Sabah Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Enactment 2003.

The Petagas River tagal system involves about 3km and will be looked after by some 4,000 villagers of Kg Contoh, Kg Muhibbah, Kg Sekambu, Kg Petagas, Kg Peringatan, Kg Tengah Padang and Kg Ganang.

Although it may seem to be an overly ambitious idea by the Minister who actually proposed for the said system to be created at the river back in June 2011, Yahya is confident it will work.

"Petagas River has become filthy because of rubbish dumping and so on, by the riverbank and in the river itself, by those living in the area and we have failed to tackle this problem," he said.

"Because of this, I proposed to the State Fisheries Department on June 16, 2011 to implement the tagal system in this river.

This is so that through this system people living in the surrounding areas can help protect and rehabilitate the fish population in the river and stop indiscriminately dumping rubbish into it, like what the people in other areas where the system is implemented in their rivers," he said.

"I am confident this will also work for Petagas River.

We want to instil awareness on the importance of protecting our river and them to have a sense of love for their river for their own benefit," he said.

Yahya said he was happy that the department had successfully introduced and implemented the tagal system in 2000, as a smart partnership between local people and the department in managing fish resources.

"It is in deed our hope that the Petagas River tagal system would successfully rehabilitate the river fish population and conserve its natural environment. I believe it can actually become an eco-tourism destination like the Tagal Luanti in Ranau," he said.

Tagal Luanti is an example of success for this system.

In 2013 alone, it received over 50,000 visitors, generating economic spin-off for those living there.

Meanwhile, Yahya, who is also State Umno Secretary, said he has not received any official proposal from any of the party's divisions in Sabah for any changes in the electoral boundary of their respective constituency.

So far, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) was the only State Barisan Nasional component party which has proposed for a new seat to be created for Papar parliamentary constituency.