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Sayang Sabah - The voice of Sabahans

Tagal system from conservation to tourism

The friendly fish masseurs at Tagal Kampung Luanti in Ranau. - Picture by Ille Tugimin
The friendly fish masseurs at Tagal Kampung Luanti in Ranau. – Picture by Ille Tugimin

KOTA KINABALU – The Tagal system a local tradition practised by the people for generations have turn from conservation to tourist attraction.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Yahya Hussin had stated that more than 50,000 tourists had visited villages with tagal system near the Mount Kinabalu in 2013.

Tagal means ‘do not’ or ‘no need’ in Kadazandusun language is a simple but effective traditional approach to good stewardship of the river.

In tagal system there is zoning sections of the river which is off-limits to fishing activities. Under the Sabah Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Enactment 2003, invaders would be penalised with fine.

It has evolved into a smart partnership between local communities and a government agency mainly Department of Fisheries Sabah (DOFS) aimed to protect, revive, conserve and manage the river resources in Sabah.

The future of tagal system is promising for the people of Sabah especially those villages in rural areas. It was reported that the tagal system would be implemented in 600 more river zones in Sabah within the next two years.

According to the Sabah Fisheries Department, the Tagal system will added to the existing 511. Currently, the Ranau district has the highest number of Tagal Rivers.

It may be that some villagers are unable to see the real potential of their rivers and as such they should be made aware of the importance of preserving rivers by implementing the Tagal system.

The state government encourages the tagal projects as it helps improve the socio-economic of the people by ensuring that their food source is protected and be a conducive site for tourists.

The Tagal in Kg Luanti in Ranau won the Global Environment Centre’s River Care Award in 2006, creating a perfect example of success for this system.

The 30-meter long river ensures sustainable river management and rehabilitation to sustain fishery resources but at the same time increase the community source of income. – SayangSabah


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