JOHOR BARU- Thousands of caged fish were found dead at fish farms around Danga Bay, with breeders blaming reclamation work in the area as the cause of their losses.
Fish farmer Tay Yong Peng claimed thousands of his milkfish, weighing more than 10,000kg and worth an estimated RM60,000 in two cages, had died.
He said that other breeders also suffered huge losses due to the reclamation work that had been carried out over several months for a planned expansion of the Danga Bay leisure city.
Tay believed that sediment from the reclamation process had polluted the water and entered the fish's gills, causing them to suffocate and die.
"This is unfair to the fish farming and fishermen community here as our livelihood has been badly affected due to some irresponsible developer," he said, adding that he supplied up to 1,000kg of milkfish in the country.
Tay, who co-owns 68 cages of milkfish at his farm near the Danga Bay site, said he was devastated when he noticed the bulk of his fish dead in their cages.
"There were hundreds of fish lying dead in the water, while some looked ill as their eyes were swollen when I saw the cages early on Sunday," he said yesterday.
"The reclamation had been going on for the past few months but we never received any notice from either the developer or the Fisheries department about the works being done so close to our farms," he added.
Johor MCA public service and complaints bureau chief Kua Song Tuck urged the developer to come forward and compensate the losses that the fish farmers had to bear due to the land reclamation works.
"Since the area has been largely reclaimed, the depth of the water has also dropped from 6.10m to a shocking 1.52m, making it unsuitable for fish breeding.
"I hope the Fisheries Department can help to look into the matter and maybe allocate some other area for fish breeding purposes.
"Also, provide some aid to local fishermen whose livelihood has been robbed by the developer," Kua added.
The department and the developer were not available for comments.