Training for local fishermen

MIRI: Wildlife rangers are being trained from among the local fishermen in the coastal areas to help protect the environment and marine life along the Miri-Sibuti coral reefs in northern Sarawak.

The training project is a collaboration between Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) and Petronas and was kicked off at Kampung Batu Satu Lutong, Miri.

Acting Sarawak state secretary Datuk Jaul Samion, SFC and Petronas officials as well as local community leaders were present at the event.

Jaul said the state government was grateful to SFC and Petronas for taking the initiative to train local rangers and get the community involved in protecting the coral reefs rich with marine life.

SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said it was crucial to get the local communities involved in conserving wildlife off the coast as well as in the sea.

“The Miri-Sibuti coral reefs are a protected national park.

“We want to train the locals living along the coast to become honorary rangers so that they will play active roles in our conservation efforts.

“They will help us in aerial and sea surveys and surveillance. They can also help educate other villages on the importance of conservation,” he said.

Petronas Sarawak general manager Zulaihi Mantali said SFC and Petronas were already involved in planting artificial reef balls off Miri-Sibuti coastline to boost marine life population and to deter fishing trawlers from using destructive nets.

So far, 1,750 reef balls have been lowered onto the seabed. – By STEPHEN THEN