By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Government is tapping into the high global demand for coral reefs via sustainable hatcheries, said Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Junz Wong over the weekend.
In a Facebook posting, he said there is a high demand for coral reefs in places like the United States, Middle East and Brazil.
“Apart from helping to maintain the sea ecosystem and provide the right habitat and shelter for many marine lives, I am aware this niche and high-end market has a vast potential at the international stage, especially in the United States, the Middle East and Brazil.”
“But we are going to do it the right adn sustainable way.”
Licenses to extract wild corals are currently banned by the Sabah Government.
“The previous BN Government issued licenses to extract wild corals, even in places like Semporna and Sipadan Island. Such terrible and irresponsible actions have caused permanent damages to our natural environment.”
“But in 2019, the Warisan-led Sabah Government froze and banned these licenses. No more of such nonsense.”
Junz who is also Vice President for Warisan explained the difference between policies of the past and present.
“We cannot ignore the need to generate income and economy for Sabah and Sabahans. But in doing so we must be responsible.”
“So we are going to tap this market in a different way. There is a big distinction between wild coral extraction and coral hatching.”
“The previous BN Government adopted wild coral extraction. Wild coral extraction makes money, but it leaves permanent damages to the marine ecosystem, especially when people do so irresponsibly.”
“That is the previous BN Government’s way of doing things. Irresponsible and short sighted.”
“It is different now. The Warisan-led Sabah Government is going to adopt coral hatching.”
“Coral hatcheries are sustainable. We can earn the money we want and generate the economy for Sabah. And we can do so without leaving permanent damages to our marine ecosystem.”
“In fact we are even helping to revive the marine ecosystem. Not only damaged corals in Sabah can be repaired, we are also going to play a part at the global level to assist with the protection of marine ecosystem throughout the world.”
Sabah can be a key player in this industry, he added.
“We have all the resources needed.”
Junz said Sabahans must start thinking of sustainability.
“If you look at the policies of the Warisan-led government today, specifically in my ministry, I am prioritising hatcheries.”
“Fish hatcheries, crab hatcheries and now even coral hatcheries.”
“These are more sustainable methods to generate revenue, at the same time protect the natural resources we are blessed with.”
He concluded that his Ministry will undertake certain necessary reforms to allow, encourage and facilitate more genuine players to participate in this coral industry.
“I will do something about the exportation licences in order to expand Sabah’s coral hatchery industry to satisfy global demand.”
“This industry is a high end niche market which we do not want to miss out on. But in doing so, we must be careful and responsible so that we leave our children a beautiful Sabah.”