Tiger prawn farming. (Photo: fishdept.sabah.gov.my)
Aquaculture industry gets ambitious
Monday, July 16, 2012, 00:40 (GMT + 9)
Malaysia is ready to generate 800,000 tonnes of aquaculture products in five years with a growth of 15 per cent per annum, stated Fisheries Director-General Datuk Ahmad Sabki Mahmud.
This achievement will allow the country to compete with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’s (ASEAN) main aquaculture players: Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.
"The aquaculture sector has shown a large increase. We developed the sector carefully by learning from the mistakes of other nations," he stated, Bernama reports.
Right now, the aquaculture industry, which remains relatively new in the country, produces around 380,000 tonnes of fish and other seafood per year. Ahmad Sabki said at this rate the country will soon be able to reach its goal of 800,000 tonnes annually.
"Although we're relatively young in this area, we're advancing and it is even growing faster than the population of the country, so it is sustainable," he said, The Sun Daily reports.
Ahamad Sabki also commented on the department’s finding that the national deep-sea fishing industry was not developing fast enough to be profitable.
"We realise we cannot really depend on deep-sea fishing because it's not growing fast enough. Currently, it is producing around 1.3 to 1.4 million tonnes of fish and seafood. Our target is only 1.7 million tonnes, which is its maximum productivity, so we are focusing on aquaculture," he said.
"Our current population is 28 million and it is increasing. The demand for fish in Malaysia is also getting higher and this can be sustained through fishes reared in aquaculture farms," he added.
Ahamad Sabki forecast that if Malaysia succeeds with its plan of producing 800,000 tonnes of farmed fish, seafood exports will double.
The industry produced 478,245 tonnes of fish worth MYR 2.4 billion (USD 752.4 million) in 2009 and 727,300 tonnes worth MYR 7 billion (USD 2.2 billion) is the target to be achieved by 2015, statistics show.
Malaysia’s aquaculture products continue to be in high demand in the world market: Europe, the US, China and Japan are big buyers of prawns while Singapore is the strongest buyer of fish.
By Natalia Real