Imagine the thrill of wild river fish feeding from your hands; you can even swim with them! At Kampung Long Lidung in Limbang Division in Sarawak, the village has been so successful with their community based fisheries management. Locally known as Tagang System that these wild fishes have become so tame to even feed from your hands.
How it all started
It all started with the interest of Raut Kading, a Lun Bawang tribe of Sarawak’s Orang Ulu community who brought the idea to the people in the village and developed the protection, conservation and management Tagang System to the river‘s native species. Started in 2006 with just seven families, this project has now mushroomed to 12 families. Who still actively raise Semah fish in a community effort.
Initial survey recorded three main species namely Semah, Kepiat and Bantak. The various restricted pools where no fishing can carried out by anyone. Sayan fish was only recorded in these pools later on in 2012.
With the assistance from the Department assistance from the Department of Agriculture (Inland Fisheries Division) Sarawak. The kampung slowly upgraded their knowledge of the system. They awarded the Most Outstanding Tagang Village in 2011 by the State Government.
An ecotourism experience
Due to the success of the Tagang System here, it is even possible to promote eco-tourism and homestay for tourists. Who interested in remote villages and country lifestyle, including friendly wild river fishes.
The tame nature of the fishes here and also the choices of planting, harvesting paddy, collecting wild vegetables and trekking. It could be positive pointers for such tourism programmes for the village. Visitors can also do sport-fishing (catch and release) as part of the programme.
In addition to the contribution of the Agriculture department. The Sarawak Forestry Department has also contributed by constructing a briefing/resting shed and a bath/changing room with two units of toilet to the village to further their appeal to visitors.
A community effort
The active Tagang System projects in Sarawak are all established. Cooperation from the villagers and agencies like NREB, Forestry and Divisional offices to ensure their success.
Some of these established projects can already turned into future homestay programmes. It inclusive of paddy planting and harvesting (during the season). And also cultural dance like bamboo dance with visits to other nearby villages.
While in Limbang
At Merarap, some 50 minutes’ drive away from Long Lidung. There is a hot spring, while closer at Punang Berayong is a settlement where rattan handicrafts are still made. Don’t forget to check them out for a wholesome ecotourism experience in Limbang!