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Malaysia set to boost tilapia production

The fisheries department has launched a range of programmes in collaboration with WorldFish to improve tilapia production in the country. (Image Source:WorldFish/Flickr)

Malaysian Fisheries Department has set a tilapia production goal of 130,000 mt by 2020 to meet the nationwide demand

According to the Fisheries Department, about 35,400 mt of tilapia worth US$60.93m in production value were recorded in Malaysia last year. The aim is to boost tilapia production by more than 70 per cent within the next four years.

The Fisheries Department had penned an agreement with the NGO, Worldfish, to establish a Technical Committee on Research Collaboration to promote the sustainable development of aquaculture and fisheries in Malaysia.

The agreement was built on the existing collaboration between DoF and WorldFish and will focus on genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT), the fast-growing strain of tilapia developed by WorldFish. The Technical Committee on Research Collaboration will work to better manage five projects relevant to sustainable development of aquaculture and fisheries in Malaysia. The five projects listed under the collaboration were GIFT tilapia production and dissemination in Malaysia, socio-economic evaluation of GIFT tilapia related to value chain analysis, genetic improvement of red tilapia, improvement of Trawlbase and genetic enhancement of giant freshwater prawn.

“Malaysia has the potential of becoming a hub for producing quality tilapia fry for the country and region,” said DoF director-general Datuk Ismail Abu Hassan. “WorldFish specialises in research on genetic, water quality and disease resistance, and we have taken this opportunity to work with them.

He also pointed out that the department had upgraded its Jitra centre with new facilities and improved bio-security to enable expansion of the GIFT programme. The department has also established a red tilapia breeding programme to provide the fish for the local market in collaboration with WorldFish. Plans to include engagement in fish disease research and development and the potential of domestication of the giant tiger prawn are also underway.