PONTIAN, Oct 18 -- The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry (MOA) has asked the Fisheries Research Institute to conduct a feasibility study on a new location for the caged fish breeding industry in Kukup near here.
Its deputy minister Sim Tze Tzin said the study which will cover several criteria including the depth of sea water, the oxygen content and the quality of water, is a long-term effort to help revive the sector.
This follows a recent incident in August when 44 fish breeders lost RM5 million after thousands of their stock died due to water pollution which occurred after the Lekima typhoon struck.
“This is an issue we must solve because aquaculture is very important and Kukup is the second largest aquaculture district in Malaysia, producing fish which meets the protein needs of the people,” he said.
Sim was speaking to reporters after a dialogue session with the 44 affected fish breeders at Kampung Nelayan Air Masin here last night.
He said, with the study, the ministry hopes to relocate the breeders in stages in the next two years.
“We want to relocate them to avoid the pollution because at the moment, they are too close to the coastline, maybe about 500 meters away, but after this, they will be further away, but still in the same waters (Pulau Kukup),” he said.
He added that the ministry will also be giving out 3,000 grouper fish seeds to the affected breeders to reduce their burden.
“This is a short-term measure. Next year, if they still need it, they can request for more seeds. At the same, we will also be giving them fish food and breeding apparatus.
“We will also be giving them two high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cages worth RM50,000 each. These cages are different from the traditional ones as they can withstand the waves and have various sensors, including closed-circuit television. They are used in many advanced countries.
“We hope that with these HDPE cages, the breeders will become more modern, in line with the Industrial Revolution 4.0,” he said.