THE Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) questions the viability and legality of the Felda caviar production “Felda going upmarket in producing homegrown caviar” (The Star, June 27).
According to the Fisheries Act 1985 it is illegal to bring into the country an exotic species such as the sturgeon, but it seems that an exception is given by the Department of Fisheries to the Siberian sturgeon to be raised by the FGV project.
It is already known that the location of the FGV venture with a South Korean company is to be located in a 50ha Sg Tabong watershed in Kuala Tahan, Jerantut, Pahang.
Incongruously, the site is located on the left bank of Sg Tembeling, just across from the Taman Negara canopy walk.
MNS is against the project due to many reasons including that the sturgeon is an exotic (foreign) species.
Other reasons are:
1) The location of the proposed site Taman Negara, which would allow an escaped sturgeon to cause havoc in our precious kelah (Tor tambroides) and temoleh or temelian(Probarbus jullieni) as well as other species endemic to Malaysia;
2) The majority (about 90%) of the people of Kuala Tahan depend directly or indirectly on ecotourism in Taman Negara as their main income and they are very much against the project; and
3) The “bulldoze” method of the Sturgeon Project – incredibly, a project just next to a national icon and a heritage site was passed without going through the usual feasibility study, if not an Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) study and report.
Just because the project is financed by Felda and under the umbrella of both the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) and therefore directly under the Prime Minister’s Department, it does not mean the project can be dumped onto a community and the nearby environment without the necessary studies and reports.
The lawmakers do not have the exclusivity of breaking the laws they themselves promulgated!
Recently, Felda Global Ventures (FGV), a Felda subsidiary, launched its inaugural Sustainability Report on June 16, which was officiated by Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas.
During the welcoming speech by the CEO of FGV, Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah indicted that FGV is committed in taking care of the environment and diodiversity.
Therefore, the sturgeon project at Kuala Tahan is contradictory and hypocritical to the just launched Sustainability Report.
Prof Dr Maketab Mohamed President, Malaysian Nature Society The STAR Home Opinion Letters 01/07/2014