ALOR GAJAH, The Melaka government is fine-tuning the form of assistance to be channelled to mussel breeders and fishermen, especially those affected by the ban on the sale of bivalves since April.

State Rural Development, Agriculture and Food Security Committee chairman Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh said that previously there was assistance which had been channelled to affected breeders by the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM).

‘Affected mussel breeders and fishermen can contact us… we are indeed working on something (to help), but not in a large amount.

‘As for the fishermen, it cannot be said that they are completely affected, because they can still catch fish, prawns and other seafood except bivalves,’ he told reporters, after the fishermen’s house key handover ceremony, officiated by Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh, here, today .

Yesterday, the media reported that more than 30 mussel breeders and fishermen at the Pengkalan Sebatu fishing jetty, in Jasin, suffered huge losses becaus
e they have been unable to sell hundreds of thousands of kilogrammes of mussels for the past three months.

He also hoped that mussel fishermen and breeders would be patient, as the ban on the sale of bivalve involves health issues and the authorities are constantly monitoring the current development of water and mussel samples in the state waters, which are still contaminated with dangerous biotoxins.

He said that the samples are collected every week by the Fisheries Department, and the analysis data can be obtained from the department.

‘We have taken samples for the 10th week, and the toxin readings are getting lower, but it is still not safe for consumption. We hope that, within this month, the ban can be lifted after the analysis found that Melaka waters are completely free of biotoxin pollution,’ he said.

Earlier, at the event, as many as 36 out of 60 fishermen received house keys under the Kuala Sungai Baru Ilir Fishermen Resettlement project, involving an allocation of RM8.9 million.

The project, i
nvolving the construction of 60 housing units on 5.6 hectares of land, developed under the allocation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS), was started in 2014, but was delayed before it was successfully completed and handed over to the recipients today.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency