Tagal system empowered to preserve natural resources in Sabah rivers


TUARAN – Tagal, a natural resource management system in rivers, especially for  freshwater fish, which has been passed down from generation to generation, continues to be strengthened to maintain the sustainability of the natural resources as well as a tourism product in Sabah.

This system, which is still widely practised in villages and rural areas in Kiulu, and is seen as effective in conserving the river ecosystem, as well as prevent the freshwater fish from becoming extinct.

Kampung Mangkaladom Tagal chairman Lodimun Balantis said the tagal system is enhanced in every village to avoid encroachment of their rivers.

Through the tagal system, fishing activities in the rivers are regulated according to three zones, namely, red zone where no fishing is allowed, yellow zone (fishing activities can only be conducted during community celebrations or festivals such as harvest season) and the green zone, which is an open fishing zone.

“Tourists like to see the abundance of fish in our rivers which are managed according to the tagal system,” he told Bernama.

The tagal system, also known as bombon, which means ‘don’t’ in the Kadazandusun language, is monitored jointly by the community and the Sabah Fisheries Department, as well as against pollution.

Lodimun said under the tagal system, monitoring of the rivers is done by members of a committee set up in the respective villages.

Their task included ensuring no one trespass to carry out fishing activities in the rivers, he said, adding that stern action would be taken against anyone caught doing so.

“The punishment will be decided by the village,  like imposing a fine of a buffalo, goat, pig or cash depending on the nature of the offence,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pinagon Baru village head, Martin Lotupas, said the enforcement of the tagal system needs to be strengthened to ensure the system could be preserved and promoted as a tourism product in the village.

In some villages,  the install closed-circuit television (CCTV) to monitor the tagal system,” he added.