PETALING JAYA: There is enough fish to meet the country’s needs, provided people don’t start hoarding, says the Department of Fisheries.
Its chief executive, Mohd Sufian Sulaiman, advised Malaysians not to succumb to panic buying as the combination of fish from the sea, rivers and ponds was enough to meet the country’s annual demand.
According to the department, each Malaysian consumes 42 kg of fish per year.
“There are 32 million Malaysians, and each person consumes around 40kg per year, so by our calculations there is enough supply to meet national demand.
“If people don’t resort to panic buying and hoarding more fish than they usually eat, then we shouldn’t have any supply problems,” he told reporters after the campaign. “Jom Makan Ikan Air Tawar” (Eat Freshwater Fish) by Selangor. at Lotus Ampang yesterday.
In another unrelated event, Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) Chairman Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal said bureaucratic problems and a weak delivery system had been identified. as among the factors that have contributed to the shortage of fish supply in the country, resulting in higher prices.
On May 22, the chairman of the National Association of Fishermen (Nekmat), Abdul Hamid Bahari, said that the number of fish landings, especially in the northern part of the Malaysian peninsula, had decreased by 70%, from over from one million tons to about 300,000 tons per month due to unpredictable weather conditions over the past two months.
Sufian said many factors affect the supply of marine fish, such as labour, weather and the technology used, but admitted that good management is essential for a stable supply.
He added that there had been a strong demand for fish during the festive seasons, coupled with the economic recovery following Covid-19’s transition to endemicity.
“We can’t deny the price increase – there has been an increase.
“I also raised the issue (of intermediaries and their profit margins) with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries. For example, freshly landed mackerel is priced at RM8 but can be as high as RM20 by the time it is sold in the market,” he said.
Deputy Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah, who opened the campaign, said the government aimed to increase production of freshwater fish to strike a better balance with supply in marine fish.
“The supply of marine fish constantly fluctuates due to certain factors. When we face extreme weather conditions, the supply decreases.
“We aim to balance this by reaching 40% of freshwater fish production in the supply mix by 2030.
“We are confident that we can achieve this because the Fisheries Department’s efforts are in line with the national food policy,” he said.