Asia is growing. Literally. From Malaysia to Dubai, luxury developments are rising on artificial islands and coastlines. Everybody wins – except the local sea life and the fishermen who depend on it

“Before, there were many fish,” says fisherman Mohd-Ishak Bin Abdul Rahman as he pulls a dried up crab from his net. A few years ago he could just walk out into the surf and pick up crustaceans with his bare hands, he tells me. “Now, nothing.”

He blames the palisade of new luxury condominiums that rise on the coastline behind him. Built on 240-acres of land artificially reclaimed from the sea, they are part of the Seri Tanjung Pinang 1 (STP1) project. Started in 2006, it brought a taste of new Asian modernity to what was then a rural area beyond the fringes of George Town, Penang’s only city. It also took away the fish, says Mohd-Ishak.

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