Pursue aquaculture devt aggressively, CM tells farmers
Daily Express
8 August 2005

Sandakan: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said fish is one of the highly traded aquaculture commodities, with nearly 40 per cent of fish production traded internationally.

He said aquaculture development should be aggressively pursued as it has the potential to increase farmers' income and improve food supply, while protecting water and natural fishery resources.

He pointed out that the importance of aquaculture grew each year due to the increasing demand for seafood, overall population growth and diminishing supply of natural seafood.

Musa, who is also Finance Minister, said this while launching the prospectus of Borneo Aqua Harvest Berhad at Sanbay Hotel, here, Saturday morning.

He noted that the United Nations Foods Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recently reported that international trade in fishery commodities exceeded US$50 billion (about (RM180 billion) a year, and is expected to increase to US55 billion (about RM209 billion) a year.

He also expected Malaysian consumption of fish to increase by 14 per cent in 2010. "In this respect, our Fishery Department is expected to produce enough fish and fish products for domestic consumption and for export.

"We are targeting a population of some 1.93 million tonnes of fish annually, worth some RM8.3 billion by early 2010," he said.

The Chief Minister also noted that fish farmers in Malaysia currently have been importing large numbers of hatchery-produced fish fry and juveniles from Taiwan and Indonesia. He was nevertheless optimistic that Malaysia, Sabah in particular, would be able to fulfil local demand, reduce import levels and also increase the potential of local export, with more companies participating in the research and development of marine aquaculture like those conducted by Borneo Aqua.

He pointed out that Sabah has the potential to take the lead in the marine biotechnology field, which in turn could facilitate activities in the breeding and hatchery of high-value marine fishes.

"To achieve this, we must elevate the standards of our country's research and development ((R&D) in this field, which requires experience and expertise," he said.

Sabah, with its long coastline of about 1,600km coupled with wide expanse of sea estimated to be more than 100,000 square nautical miles, had abundant varied marine life, he said. Thus, the State has immense potential for R&D on the breeding of various species of near extinct or high-value marine fish for the commercial market, he added.