Aquaculture industry in East Malaysia Sabah to be licensed in stages
All aquaculture farm operators in Sabah will be licensed in stages to ensure that the industry is better managed and able to contribute to the economic development of the state.
Assistant State Minister for Agriculture and the Food Industry Datuk Bobbey Suan, said all operators who had a breeding area of more than 0.4 hectares must have a licence in line with the Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Enactment 2003.
This development came as buyers questioned the quality of Sabah's aquaculture products, causing losses of up to MYR80 million.
Suan said the industry had to be managed and controlled to meet the international standards such as those of the EU requirements.
Suan said this to reporters after launching the Sabah Aquaculture Licensing Programme here today (Nov 28, 2008). He represented Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin, who is also the State Minister for Agriculture and the Food Industry.
According to Suan, there are now 7,000 freshwater aquaculture farmers and 2,635 brackish water farmers.
As the programme is new, he said ample time will be given to obtain the licenses.
Suan said the Sabah Fisheries Department had a data bank of the state's aquaculture operators and was now going over the applications before issuing the licences.
He said the priority for enforcement of licensing for now will be focused on large operators before it is expanded to the smaller ones.