Production centre for marine fish fry

Besut and Setiu in Terengganu have the potential to become the centre for the production of marine fish fry in the country and Asean.

Fisheries deputy director-general (operations) Ahamad Sabki Mahmood said Malaysia could also become an exporter of the fry to countries outside Asean.

"The quality and temperature of the water in the two districts are ideal for the breeding of the fish fry throughout the year.

"Before this, our breeders had to import fish fry from Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan," he told newsmen after Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh released 600 Kerapu Harimau or Tiger Grouper fry at the Laguna Setiu fish ponds in Setiu recently.

The event marked the first commercial breeding of groupers in the state.

It is a joint effort between the Besut-based Marin Finfish Production and Research Centre (PPPIL) and the Penang-based company Fenomena Luas Sdn Bhd.

The two parties earlier in the day signed a MoU to breed Tiger Groupers, Kerapu Hijau or Green Groupers, and Kerapu Kentang or Giant Grouper through a three- year collaboration.

Idris said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was monitoring the success of the caged fish project in Laguna Setiu.

"This is a project that must not go wrong as it is aimed at increasing the fishermen's income," he said.

Fenomena Luas Sdn Bhd Chairman Azrael Ibrahim said the company would work closely with PPPIL in the spawning and breeding of the fish fry and transferring the fish from the ponds of the cages.