Aquaculture in Malaysia | Fynance

15 Feb, 2023

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Aquaculture, known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic plants and animals, such as fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and seaweed, in controlled environments, such as ponds, tanks, and ocean-based nets. This type of farming aims to provide a sustainable source of seafood, as well as to conserve wild populations of aquatic species. In aquaculture, farmers use a variety of techniques to grow and harvest their crops, including feeding, stocking densities, and water quality management. This industry is growing rapidly as the global demand for seafood continues to increase, and it plays an important role in meeting the food needs of a growing world population. Aquaculture involves a range of activities, including;
  1. Species selection: Deciding which species of fish or other aquatic animals to raise, based on factors such as market demand, climate suitability, and feed availability.

  2. Site selection and preparation: Finding a suitable site for aquaculture production, such as a pond, tank, or coastal area, and preparing the site for production, including preparing the water, building infrastructure, and installing equipment.

  3. Stock management: Acquiring and managing the stock, including hatching and rearing of young fish, feeding and caring for the animals, and monitoring their health and growth.

  4. Harvesting: Harvesting mature fish or other aquatic animals for consumption or sale to other growers.

  5. Processing and packaging: Processing the harvested fish or other aquatic products, including cleaning, grading, and packaging them for sale.

  6. Marketing and sales: Marketing and selling aquaculture products, either directly to consumers or through intermediaries such as wholesalers or retailers.

  7. Record keeping and management: Keeping detailed records of production and financial activities, including stock numbers, feed quantities, and sales, and using this information to manage the aquaculture operation effectively.

Aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry worldwide, with increasing demand for seafood driving the development of this sector. Here are some statistics to give you an overview of the aquaculture sector globally and in Malaysia:

Global Statistics:

  1. Total production: In 2022, the total global production of aquaculture products was approximately 179 million tonnes, valued at roughly $250 billion.

  2. Leading species: The leading species produced in aquaculture worldwide include carp, salmon, tilapia, and molluscs, such as oysters and clams.

  3. Growth rate: The global aquaculture sector has been growing at an average rate of 5-6% per year over the past decade.

  4. Importance: Aquaculture is becoming increasingly important as a source of seafood, with approximately 50% of the seafood consumed globally now produced through aquaculture.

Malaysia Statistics:

  1. Total production: In 2022, the total production of aquaculture products in Malaysia was approximately 650,000 tonnes, with a value of roughly $1 billion.

  2. Leading species: The leading species produced in Malaysia include tilapia, prawns, and catfish.

  3. Export market: Malaysia is a significant exporter of aquaculture products, with key markets including China, Europe, and the United States.

  4. Development: The government of Malaysia is actively promoting the development of the aquaculture sector, to increase production and exports.

These statistics highlight the growth and importance of the aquaculture sector globally and in Malaysia. As demand for seafood continues to rise, the role of aquaculture in meeting this demand is likely to become increasingly important.

The aquaculture sector has faced several challenges, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, regarding finance and workforce. Here are some of the main issues:

  1. Access to finance: Small and medium-sized aquaculture businesses often struggle to access the financing they need to grow and expand. This can limit the development of the sector and result in missed opportunities.

  2. High costs: Aquaculture can be a capital-intensive industry, with high costs associated with purchasing or leasing land, building facilities, and purchasing equipment and stock.

  3. Labour costs: Labor costs can be a significant expense for aquaculture businesses, particularly for those operating in developing countries where wages are higher.

  4. Workforce shortages: Finding and retaining skilled and experienced workers can be a challenge for aquaculture businesses, particularly in rural areas where there may be limited employment opportunities.

  5. Market volatility: The prices of aquaculture products can be volatile, particularly for species such as shrimp and salmon, which are highly traded in global markets. This can make it difficult for aquaculture businesses to plan and budget effectively.

  6. COVID-19 pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the aquaculture sector, with disruptions to global trade and supply chains leading to price fluctuations and reduced demand for some products. Additionally, many workers in the sector have been impacted by the pandemic, with some losing their jobs or facing reduced hours or pay.

These are some of the main challenges faced by the aquaculture sector, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Addressing these challenges will be necessary for the continued growth and development of this industry.

Malaysia has a strong potential for growth in its aquaculture sector, due to several favourable factors, including:

  1. Growing demand for seafood: With increasing global demand for seafood, there is significant potential for growth in the Malaysian aquaculture sector.

  2. Abundant natural resources: Malaysia has abundant natural resources, including a long coastline and numerous waterways, which are ideal for aquaculture production.

  3. Government support: The government of Malaysia is actively promoting the development of the aquaculture sector, with initiatives aimed at increasing production and exports.

  4. Skilled workforce: Malaysia has a skilled and experienced workforce, including a growing pool of trained aquaculture professionals, which provides a strong foundation for the continued growth of the sector.

  5. Strong export market: Malaysia is a significant exporter of aquaculture products, with key markets including China, Europe, and the United States.

  6. Diversified product mix: Malaysia produces a diverse mix of aquaculture products, including fish, shrimp, and molluscs, which helps to reduce the sector's exposure to market volatility.

These factors provide a strong foundation for the continued growth of the aquaculture sector in Malaysia. With ongoing investments in research and development, training, and infrastructure, the sector has the potential to become a major contributor to the country's economy and to meet the growing demand for seafood globally.

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