The 10-year Malaysia National Agro-Food Policy has a target production of 794,000 metric tonnes by the end of 2020. For the past decade, the national production of aquaculture products has increased by 8 per cent annually. Therefore, to meet this target, growth has to reach 12.8 per cent per annum.
However, for production to meet consumer demand, the growth rate has to be at least 24.6 per cent annually to reach the target of 453,000 metric tonnes a year.
Aquaculture farming is listed as one of the main economic industries of the country, based on its potential. Therefore, it poses a great challenge for Fisheries Malaysia to achieve the target set by the Federal government.
In line with this, a state-level forum on impending new regulations on aquaculture farming was conducted for stakeholders in the industry to create awareness about them, while these regulations are being finalised to be presented at the Federal level. These regulations will be an extension to the Fisheries Act if approved by Parliament. To date, there is no regulation on inland aquaculture.
Perak was chosen as the first state for this forum, as it is the biggest contributor of aquaculture products to the country, at almost 25 per cent annually.
The half-day forum held at Tower Regency Hotel, Ipoh recently, was launched by Perak State Fisheries Department Director Dr Bah Piyan Tan who stood in for Dato’ Hj. Ismail bin Abu Hassan, Director General of Fisheries Malaysia (Development).
Two years ago, Malaysia and Norway signed a bilateral agreement for the development of sustainable aquaculture farming in Malaysia. Through this agreement, Norway will help Malaysia to develop a regulatory framework for aquaculture farming, including good aquaculture practices on management, environmental impact, as well as the commercial aspect for export.