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Muhyiddin Wants Greater Participation In Tilapia Farming

MALAYSIA - Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin wants to see greater participation of companies in tilapia farming due to overwhelming demand for the fish.

He said the tilapia was popular worldwide as it was adaptable to a wide range of environmental conditions.

The minister said the fish, which originated from Africa and the Middle East, was the second most popular farmed fish after carp.

"It has developed into one of the most important species after salmon and shrimp," he told reporters after launching the International Tilapia 2007 Seminar here today.

The three-day seminar will see industry leaders, policy-makers and aquaculturists from Europe, America and Asia discussing, among others, potential markets for the fish.

"In 2005, the global production of tilapia was about 2.3 million tonnes and the trade concentrated in a few countries, with North America (United States and Canada) being the largest importer," said Muhyiddin.

China was the largest producer of tilapia with its production reaching almost a million tonnes in 2005, and also the largest exporter, he added.

Muhyiddin said the Malaysian aquaculture industry was also expected to follow suit, as the amount of yield would increase in the near future.

Last year, the local industry recorded production of about 203,000 tonnes valued at RM1.3 billion.