The once-flagging Malaysian fishing industry has been re-vitalised -- and it now ranks as the country's fifth-biggest foreign exchange earner after rubber, timber, tin and palm oil.
The once-flagging Malaysian fishing industry has been re-vitalised -- and it now ranks as the country's fifth-biggest foreign exchange earner after rubber, timber, tin and palm oil. Until a few years ago the main bulk of fishing was carried out close to the coast. Now fishermen in bigger ad better boats are spending more time on deep-sea fishing. Last year, the country's marine catch was 23.1 per cent up on the previous year's total. More than a quarter of it was exported bringing in GBP 26.3 million sterling (62.5 million dollars) in foreign exchange. Ten years ago, Malaysia's annual marine catch was not even half last year's.
The re-vitalisation programme, heavily aided by the government, includes massive improvements to the fish-farming industry, where freshwater fish and prawns are reared in artificial ponds. This film takes a look at this Malaysian growth industry.
SYNOPSIS: Ten years ago the Malaysian fishing industry was flagging -- counting for little among the country's foreign exchange earners. But new, the annual catch has more than doubled over ten years as a result of a massive, government-aided revitalisation campaign, and the fishing industry has become Malaysia's fifth-biggest foreign exchange earner after rubber, timber, tin and palm oil.
The government has injected massive sums of cash, and set up several marketing and aid organisations, to encourage the mostly private-enterprise fishing industry. With bigger trawlers and more sophisticated equipment, backed by boat-building programmes and a central marketing authority to buy and sell fish, Malaysia's fishermen are venturing further offshore in deep waters and bringing back larger catches. Last year, they earned the country twenty-six million pounds in foreign exchange -- and only a quarter of their catch was exported.
But the Malaysian government isn't satisfied yet. It considers the fishing industry to be still lagging, compared with economic development in other sectors, and has now given it top priority for aid and development.
Another sector of the fishing industry being given substantial aid by the government is freshwater fish farming. There's been extensive research recently into developing more strains of fish suitable for farming. and now carp and prawns rank among the more important products of the farms.
In addition to services like the marketing authority and the boat-building programme, the government has put aside a further five million pounds in cash to give direct aid to fishermen in need of better equipment. Already seventy per cent of Malaysia's fishing boats are motorised, enabling them to exploit deep-sea areas once untouched. Scientific research into improving freshwater farming is being increased. the government is also setting up ice factories and cold storage rooms for catches, and prawn processing factories and school for fishermen have been launched.