Koperasi Pengusaha Akuakultur dan Perikanan Sabah Berhad chairman Khoo Mum Huah said there was no clear directive as to whether the ban on fresh and live seafood export would be imposed on aquaculture farms, reports the BorneoPost.
Khoo said many bumiputeras had become involved in the aquaculture business on a small scale, and thus a suspension on fresh seafood export, even a temporary one, would deliver a fatal blow to them.
“The big players have invested up to tens of millions of ringgit to their aquaculture farms.
He pointed out that live fish could sell up to RM50 per kilogramme (kg), while fish that has gone through blast freezing could only sell for RM15 to RM20 per kg.
“Our costing is between RM25 to RM30 (per kg), depending on which grouper.
“The whole aquaculture industry will be finished if fresh seafood has to undergo blasting, which slashes the selling price from RM50 to RM20 per kg,” he said.
He was commenting on the ban on the export of fresh seafood as announced by Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin recently.
Sabah Fisheries Marketing Authority chairman Datuk Dr Jaujan Sambakong has also said the suspension on the export was only for a temporary period under certain circumstance such as during the monsoon season or the current El Nino.
Khoo, who is also a councillor in Kunak, added that blast freezing seafood also incurred additional costs for the facility, logistics and labour, which could amount to more than RM30 per kg of fish.
“How can the (aquaculture) industry sustain?”