Our local fishing industry makes for an insignificant fraction of the global fish industry. Few will recall the disastrous ban imposed on Malaysian fish and fish by-products by the European Union (EU) in 2008. This was because we failed to meet EU standards and overall quality requirements. The ban had severe implications on local fish farmers, vessel fishing enterprises and manufacturers. Many went bust.
The fishery department decided to provide a way out for the local players. It came up with two programmes to train, upgrade and certify those in the industry. Good Aquaculture Practice Certificate (GAPC) or Sijil Amalan Akuakultur Baik was drawn up specifically for the Malaysian suppliers. It was in response to public’s concern on food safety, especially fish. Fish Quality Certification (FQC) is structured to ensure that fish exported to the EU nations meet the Union’s requirements. Training is conducted free of charge.
The training centre in Sitiawan recently presented GAPC certificates to 36 participants and FQC certificates to 25 upon completion of the course. The GAPC is renewable every two years while FQC requires annual renewal. The presentation ceremony was graced by the Director-General of the Fishery Department Malaysia, Dato’ Ahamad Sabki bin Mahmood. Ahamad Sabki hoped industrial players would upgrade their fish business to meet local and international standards. “Although Malaysia constitutes only a tiny portion to the global market, it is the department’s goal for our people to compete in the global marketplace.”
In 2006, the Aquaculture Division of Fisheries of the Department of Fishery Malaysia released the general guidelines on aquaculture farming. The Bio-safety Unit was formed later. It audits, monitors and evaluates aquaculture farms in the country. To date there are 27 certified aquaculture farms, 42 certified vessel owners and 12 fish by-product manufacturers. This is relatively small, as the courses are provided upon request by industry players. It is the aspiration of the Department that the free training will encourage those in the industry to upgrade their status.
Those with GAPC certification can sell their fish to governmental bodies and organisations at a higher price of RM12 to RM13 per kilo while those without GAPC certification will get about RM7 per kilo.The training will also teach farmers how to protect their livestock from diseases such as the “white spot”. FQC holders can engage in international export of fish.
Information on the training programme is available at www.dof.gov.my. You can email to firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Contact person: Pn Nurul Faizah: 0165550597 or En Amir: 0197519349 or call the Ipoh office: 05-2554637.