Hatcheries planned in Sabah's east coast to ensure sustainable fish supply
Monday, December 16, 2019, 00:10 (GMT + 9)
The State Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry plans to develop three to four hatcheries in the east coast to ensure the sustainable production of certain types of fish.
Its Minister Minister Datuk Junz Wong said this is vital to ensure Sabah, which is known as a seafood hub, would continue to supply seafood even during occurrences like red tide in the State.
“I notice that the red tide phenomenon hit four districts in Sabah based on Dec. 9 results of samples taken from Purun Pasir in Kuala Penyu, Kg Binsulok in Beaufort, Sungai Mengkabong in Tuaran and Tanjung Dumpil in Putatan that have been tested positive for containing the paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxin.
“However, some samples taken from Teluk Ambong in Kota Belud and Trayong in Tuaran were tested negative, but regular monitoring will still be conducted.
“This natural phenomenon will definitely affect our seafood industry in terms of the seashells and shellfish like clams and oysters. That’s why it is important for Sabah to go for aquaculture which we will put focus on setting up more hatcheries,” he said.
Junz said this to reporters after officiating Veterinary Night 2019 and presentation of Excellence Service Award for retired, long-serving civil servants and those who excelled in their jobs under the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) here on Wednesday.
He was commenting on whether the current red tide phenomenon in several districts in Sabah was affecting the supply of seafood industry in Sabah.
He said there were not many complaints on the natural phenomenon affecting the supply of shells and crabs in Sabah but that a shortage on the supply of fish in the State would be serious.
He said the hatcheries were for a well-known type of fish species known as blubber lip snapper or “Hoi Dai Gai” in Cantonese and another hatchery for producing leopard coral grouper.
This is to ensure Sabah has its own brand just like people go to Sarawak for the expensive fish “Empurau” while they can come to Sabah to eat the ‘Hoi Dai Gai’ fish.
“We want to build something different to create a brand name for Sabah and thus we are putting effort in setting up various hatcheries in Sabah to achieve the aspiration.
Live reef fish trade in Kudat. Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia. | Photo: © Jürgen Freund / WWF
“I strongly believe we can succeed as Sabah has all the ingredients and resources as well as the natural environment,” he said.
The third hatchery would be for sea cucumber in Kota Kinabalu area and another hatchery for seaweed which is taking time to be set up.
He said the Ministry is also working on few hatcheries in Tuaran, including for lobster which is undergoing research and development (R&D).
The focus would be on developing hatcheries especially in the East Coast that seldom have red tide but a calm environment.
He cited one natural hatchery in Silam, Lahad Datu, for different types of fish and marine animals as there are no big waves and serene environment like at Darvel Bay.
“Hatchery is like a formula whereby we wait to see its potential of growing production because when it does, then we can ensure sustainability of our own seafood.
Sabah / Tunku Abdul Rahman national park | Photo: Alfred Molon
“Hatcheries have huge potential as a multibillion Ringgit business. We can see the potential in our crab hatchery in Sandakan that is proven to produce consistent quantity at good quality and with the right size for different markets and demands.
“Hence, for Sabah next year, we can produce crabs like mud crab and flower crabs from the hatchery alone for export to China, Singapore and West Malaysia,” Junz said.
At the same time, he said Sabahans would get to enjoy crabs at between MYR 25 and MYR 30 per kg in a good season for about 500gm each.
“One thing about crabs…it is not available every month. There will be abundant supply on certain months and decline another month.
“That is why I am very optimistic with our crab hatchery which is successful can sustainably produce good quality of several types of crabs like mud and flower crabs for local and export markets.
“During my visit to the hatchery, it produced crabs weighing 300gm each barely in three months using trial and error,” Junz said.
Also present were Assistant Minister Dr Daud bin Yusof, permanent secretary Dr Mariana Tinggal and DVS director Dr Peter A.K.Lee, Sabah Swiflet House and Bird Nest Industry (Swifin) Association President Datuk Karim Bujang and other senior officials.
Author: Hayati Dzulkifli / Daily Express