Letter to the Editor | Chicken Ban: Anyone operating marine type fish farms has an obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment

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Dear Editor,

I’m glad to hear that “Fish farms can be set up near 3 southern islands with great diversity of corals and endangered marine life” and the Singapore Food Agency seeks public comment (TODAY, May 23).

Malaysia’s chicken ban in Singapore on June 1 has more or less disrupted the meat supply market, and food retailers who rely on selling chicken as their main course will suffer the harsh consequences.

Either way, any disruption to the food supply will quickly prompt Singapore to find ways to tackle the problem from the start. Thus, increasing multiple food supply channels will undoubtedly ensure the importance of dietary diversity and enhance food price stability and food supply sustainability for Singapore.

Singapore aims to establish large-scale marine fish farms and high-tech vertical farming are some of the effective means or channels to ensure the continuous supply of alternative foods to sustain and mitigate the impact of food supply .

However, anyone who operates marine-type fish farms has an obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment. And, they take all necessary steps to ensure that activities under their jurisdiction or control are conducted in a manner that does not cause pollution damage to surrounding marine areas. In due course, it is essential to protect deep-sea coral habitats from physical damage caused by fish farming infrastructure and discharges of polluted water from fish farms.

Selection of the appropriate type and method for marine aquaculture should also be an important consideration for competent authorities or commercial parties. This will ensure that projects are commercially viable and environmentally unpolluted. For example, opting for open net pens, submersible net pens or recirculating systems should be carefully considered, planned, organized and executed.

Another key consideration is to ensure that the waterways around these specific islands are free of pollution and traffic jams.

Last but not least, would the current fishing ports of Jurong and Senoko be sufficient and able to meet the logistical needs to and from the market and the specific fish farms?

More importantly, would the benefit of the financial gain from fish farming ultimately be funneled into the hands of the vast consumers?

Teo Kueh Liang (Sir)

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Independent Singapore.

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