Braken speaking at the launch the deployment of the artificial reef balls along the coast from Sampadi to Tanjong Dato. Photo: Courtesy of PBB Tanjong Datu Service Centre

By Voon Yih Boon

SEMATAN: Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) aims to set a record in the Guinness Book of World Records when the deployment of artificial reef balls is completed, with it being among the longest in the world, covering more than 1,000km from Tanjung Datu to Lawas.

A total of RM70 million was allocated by the Sarawak government under the ‘Project Rakyat’, aimed at planting 16,800 artificial reef balls in the Sarawak coastline from 2018 to 2021.

According to SFC deputy chief executive officer 1 Oswald Braken Tisen, the project was initiated by SFC with support from Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“The planting of artificial reef balls began 22 years ago, with the state government’s approval and agreement. 

“Its primary purpose is to protect the turtles near the area of Taman Negara (National Park) Talang Satang,” he said at the ceremony to deploy 1,100 artificial reef balls along the Sempadi-Tanjung Datu coastal waters here on Monday (Oct 26).

He added that reports from past years showed that more than 100 turtles died in a year.

“Therefore, this artificial reef project has managed to save the habitat, especially the turtles, at the same time provide big catch of fish for the fishing community.”

To date, SFC has successfully planted more than 5,000 artificial reef balls from Sampadi to Tanjung Datu.

“I hope that the fishermen will cooperate with SFC and other agencies to play their role in preventing activities that violate regulations such as encroachment, which hurt the turtles.

“Anyone who sees any of such illegal activity is urged to immediately report to the enforcement authorities.”