Category: Tourism News

Muar’s marine life going extinct

THREAT: Predatory storks and sea pollution from oil spills from fishermen’s boats and rubbish dumped at sea are wiping out creatures living in a Parit Jawa mudflat and coastal areas here

MUAR: LESSER Adjutant storks and coastal pollution are threatening the existence of marine creatures living in the 20ha mudflat at Pantai Leka, Parit Jawa, as well as coastal areas in Muar.

Currently, Pantai Leka is one of the stopovers for these birds in Malaysia.

However, fishermen are unhappy over their presence, claiming that the Lesser Adjutant storks and coastal pollution are wiping out marine creatures such as mud-hoppers, eels, shells, clams, cockles, mussels and small crabs.

These are marine life which have carved out a niche in the mudflat ecosystem.

But it turns out that fishermen themselves are directly involved in polluting the sea through oil spills from their boats.

Other vessels also dump oil as they sail in the international waters off the Straits of Malacca.

There is also rubbish dumping in the sea.

Cockle-catcher Tan Ah Ngoh, 58, was adamant that most of the cockles were eaten by Lesser Adjutant storks.

“I can hardly catch 5kg of cockles that earn about about RM7 a day compared with 50kg 10 years ago,” he said.

Fisherman Ismail Mahmood, 62, said he had given up catching clams and mussels on the mudflat, and siput, prawns and small fish on other parts of Muar’s coastline.

“Lesser Adjutant storks have sharp senses. They can peck out a clam deep in the mud,” said Ismail.

However, others want the birds to stay, so they feed the birds with small fish.

Fisheries Society Parit Jawa chairman Ser Boon Huat admitted the mudflat was devoid of marine creatures at low tides.

He said about 50 years ago, many people picnicked at some sandy beaches along the shore at Parit Jawa.

“The children had great fun looking for small crabs (with big red pincers) and siput (a type of sea snail) among the mangrove trees and sea shells on the shore.

“Now, we can hardly find any of them because they are mostly eaten by Lesser Adjutant storks which have made the mudflat their feeding ground and roosting place.

“But we want the birds to remain at Parit Jawa, roost among the mangrove trees and produce new generations of locally-red birds,” he said.

Ser said many foreign Lesser Adjutant storks had made Malaysia their home, and by so doing, slow down its extinction.

“Bird-lovers would then be able to see these birds when they go extinct in other countries,” he said.

However, he added that should these highly sensitive birds go extinct here, it would be a great loss to Johor and the country.

By CHONG CHEE SEONG

Read more: Muar’s marine life going extinct – Johor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/streets/johor/muar-s-marine-life-going-extinct-1.242991#ixzz2PXXPMsKV

Category: Tourism News