Feb 08, 2018
FISHING FOR A NEW SANCTUARY
Alongside our Tree for Tree and Firefly Conservation projects, we have also embarked on a mission to preserve the fast declining Mahseer Fish population. This species of fish that typically inhabits rivers and lakes, has been suffering a severe decline in recent years due to overfishing and the development of hydroelectric plants that cause physical changes to the river’s ecosystem.
Recognising these issues, TNB Research Sdn Bhd (TNBR) has developed a pilot project called the Tagal System Sanctuary – adapted from the TAGAL system model that is being actively implemented in Sabah. “Tagal” stands for “no” in Kadazan-Dusun, and is meant to signify a ban on fishing activities by the river. This sanctuary is part of the Mahseer Conservation Management Plan by the Hulu Terengganu Hydroelectric Station in Sungai Tembat.
The TAGAL system is implemented in five stages; training, location selection, site preparation, system testing and final assessment. At the first stage, we conducted field trips to the Pahang National Park, Perlok Aquaculture Development Center and Ranau, Sabah, where we had the chance to learn more about the Tagal system and different breeding techniques. With the help of research data, we chose Sungai Tembat as the location for our sanctuary and began construction on a temporary operations centre. Over the course of 12 months, we will be testing out the tagal system along with a feeding schedule of three times a day, and 24-hour surveillance. At the end of this pilot project, we plan to open our doors to visitors to get their feedback on our progress.
It’s still early days for this pioneer project. Our initial work has been focused on cultivating the Mahseer Fish through routine feeding and preventing activities that could potentially disrupt their natural habitat. Once pilot testing is complete, the real work can begin. We hope to collaborate with other local agencies and communities to implement this model in more locations across Malaysia. In time, we believe that these efforts will allow the Mahseer fish to thrive in their rightful habitats, while also providing the local population with additional economic resources.