The Sabah state government has allocated RM2 million for the artificial reef projects for 2013 and next year, said Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin.
Yahya, who is also Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry, said from 2008 to 2012, the Fisheries Department has sunk 518 artificial reefs made of concrete weighing between six and 30 tonnes into the sea fronting the shores of 14 districts in the state.
The districts were Sipitang, Kuala Penyu, Beaufort, Papar, Putatan, Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran, Kota Belud, Kudat, Pitas, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Semporna, he said yesterday.
"The projects cost about RM4.427 million and was funded by the state and federal governments." Yahya said this in reply to a question by Kuala Penyu Assemblyman Limus Jury during the State Assembly meeting in Kota Kinabalu who asked the minister on the effectiveness of artificial reefs in terms of developing the marine fishing resource in the State.
He said studies by the Fisheries Department showed that the gross income earned by traditional fishermen who fished around the reef has increased threefold.
"Previously, without the man-made reefs, the average income for fishermen each time they headed out to sea was RM50. This figure has now increased to RM200 a trip," he said. - Bernama, June 21, 2013.