Noraisyah and Bukit Tambun assemblyman Goh Choon Aik launching the operation to plant artificial reefs in Pulau Kendi. — Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

TRAWLERS now have to think twice about illegally dragging their nets near Pulau Kendi off the south of Penang island. This vital fish breeding ground is now surrounded by a concrete ‘fort’.

Weighing 12 tonnes each, these concrete cubes will stop trawlers from decimating the breeding grounds around Pulau Kendi.

In the months to come, these artificial reefs will spur populations of pelagic fish such as grouper, bream, snapper, scad and mackerel.

Penang Fisheries Department director Noraisyah Abu Bakar said the department spent RM296,620 to acquire the 19 artificial reefs under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

“Besides helping to conserve supply of fish, the artificial reefs will hinder trawler boats from intruding into the shallows.

“These reinforced artificial reefs will snag and rip the trawling nets apart, causing huge loses to the operators,” she said.

Noraisyah said seven stations were chosen in the state for study on coral sites by the South East Asia Marine Institute (ISMAT) and the site near Pulau Kendi was found to be suitable due to its hard seabed.

“Since 2008, the department has dropped three types of artificial reefs into the water, starting with 60 recreational reefs.

Pulau Kendi is a small island about 3km from the southwestern tip of Penang island, off Gertak Sanggul.

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