Sarawak Energy Enriches Baleh Fisheries with Ikan Tengadak Fish Fry Release

Almost one hundred households consisting of about 1,000 residents from the Baleh communities of Kapit Division, downstream of the Baleh hydroelectric project, stand to benefit from a Community River Enrichment Programme (CREP) undertaken by Sarawak Energy, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture Sarawak.

The team released 3,000 fish fry (young fish) of the prized ikan tengadak species into Sungai Pulang and Sungai Entalawan, tributaries of the Batang Baleh on 8 March. This programme is part of Sarawak Energy’s ongoing Sustainable Livelihood Programme efforts which benefit residents from Baleh’s Rumah Kalat Likong, Rumah Jack Sibat, and Rumah Samon Chepau.

The release of fish fry is part of the Tagang System Project, a community-driven river conservation effort launched in 2023 to enhance the area’s fishery resources by promoting sustainable fisheries, biodiversity conservation and enrichment. Aligned with Sarawak Energy’s social investment initiatives, the fishing system aims to raise economic independence for the people of the area by providing an alternative enhanced source of income through sales of fish supply and potential eco-tourism activities, with Murum being the first of such community partnerships.

Sarawak Energy, through its Baleh Social Development Committee, is collaborating with the Department of Agriculture Sarawak and the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak to provide training and equip the communities with the necessary skills and knowledge to manage their respective Tagang Systems and other initiatives such as fishpond culture, agriculture and livestock farming while also exploring agritourism activities.

Working with the relevant Government agencies, Sarawak Energy has implemented a range of other agriculture programmes which include vegetable farming, poultry farming, aquaculture and the Tagang System to ensure a holistic approach to sustainable livelihood opportunities for the Baleh communities. Residents from the three longhouses have undergone comprehensive training on the Tagang System, crop farming, and poultry farming to ensure the success of these initiatives.

“We believe that by working with the beneficiary communities to develop projects such as this initiative to release fish fry into Sungai Pulang and Sungai Entalawan reflects a consultative process that promotes sustainable agricultural development for the local communities in Baleh while also contributing to our environmental conservation efforts,” said Sharina Bohari, Sarawak Energy’s Senior Manager for Project Services at the programme’s officiating events for Rumah Kalat Likong, Rumah Jack Sibat and Rumah Samon Chepau.

The community’s active involvement in conducting routine fish stock assessments and overseeing the controlled fishing system also underscores the joint dedication to preserving the riverine ecosystem.

Sharina added, “The communities' sense of ownership and their capacity to independently operate and manage the Tagang System can serve as a role model to encourage other communities in the Baleh area to implement similar biodiversity conversation efforts.”

Tan Hang Kiak, Baleh Hydroelectric Project (HEP) General Manager reaffirmed Sarawak Energy’s commitment to working closely with various agencies and the community to enhance their socioeconomic development.

“The Baleh HEP team will continue to work closely with the Department of Agriculture and the community of Baleh on this sustainable livelihood programme to deliver positive social and environmental impact for the communities,” said Tan.

Sarawak Energy supports the communities through its corporate social responsibility’s social investment pillars, which encompass youth education, culture and heritage preservation, community development and entrepreneurship, and environmental conservation.

Among the successful collaborative efforts spurred from its social investments include the Baleh Youth Skills Training Programme and the Baleh Education Fund, benefiting youths in the area. In ensuring the welfare of the local communities, Sarawak Energy also organises Eye-Health Screening and Operation Campaigns for cataract and pterygium surgeries for Baleh and Kapit communities.

In their efforts to preserve culture and heritage, Sarawak Energy provides opportunities for women artisans in Baleh in entrepreneurship through its handicraft development programmes. Meanwhile, the ‘Pesta Main Adat Asal’ initiative honours the heritage of Sarawak's Iban community by revitalising indigenous games and cultural practices.

From Left to Right: Sarawak Energy’s Senior Consultant for Project Delivery, Jaynsen Sibat; Sarawak Energy’s Manager for Baleh HEP Community Relations, Reuben Jagai; Officer for Bukit Mabong District Agriculture Office, Muhammad Aidil Hakimi; Sarawak Energy’s Senior Manager for Project Services Sharina Bohari; Associate Consultant for Biomass Removal, Rumpang anak Usat Gumbang; Tuai Rumah Jack Sibat, and Tuai Rumah Samon Chepau releasing fish fry into Sungai Entalawan.

Sarawak Energy’s Senior Manager for Project Services Sharina Bohari led the release of fish fry together with the Department of Agriculture and community leaders at Sungai Pulang. This collaborative effort is part of the Tagang System development – encouraging community ownership in conserving local fish populations.