Joining the Regional Aquaculture Disease Network is Vital to Protecting the S’wak Industry
KUCHING (August 23): Sarawak must be part of a regional network monitoring aquaculture diseases to protect the local industry, said Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Sarawak’s Prime Minister pointed out that with a 1,000 km long coastline and huge inland water bodies covering an area of 150,000 ha, the state has the potential to generate export revenue through aquaculture.
He said that the Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 has given considerable importance to the potential of the aquaculture industry.
“For this reason, I cannot stress enough the need for Sarawak to be part of the regional aquaculture disease information sharing network to protect the state’s aquaculture industry,” he said. in a speech at the opening of the 11th Symposium on Diseases. in Asian aquaculture (DAA11) today.
He was represented by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.
Abang Johari noted that while there are new market opportunities for farmed aquatic animals, whether for food or ornamental fish, this has also facilitated the spread of pathogens and their diseases.
“Timely action can help limit the spread of foodborne microorganisms and antimicrobial-resistant zoonoses, which can infect humans, animals and plants through various routes of transmission. These routes of transmission include direct contact with animal and human sources, and indirect transmission through the environment and the food supply chain.
“For example, a mass mortality of caged tilapia was reported in July 2017 due to Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) in Batang Ai Aquaculture Industrial Zone. This prompted the Ministry of Agriculture to quickly collaborate and liaise with the Malaysian Department of Fisheries (DOF) and National Fish Health (NaFISH) to monitor and contain the outbreak with appropriate measures,” said he declared.
Abang Johari said that with its comparative advantage of rich land and water resources, Sarawak is committed to increasing and improving the scale of food production for marketing and export, which not only covers agricultural crops and livestock, but also the fishing sector.
“With the rapid increase in global fish consumption, aquaculture is now the fastest growing food production sector in the world and Asia is the leading aquaculture producer, contributing 92% of total global aquaculture products.
“For Sarawak, on average, 27% of our food exports are fish, crustaceans and molluscs, and 9% are imported,” he said.
Moving forward, Abang Johari said the immediate initiative is to develop commercial aquaculture through the establishment of an Aquaculture Industrial Zone (AIZ).
At the 11th DAA Symposium, he said it marks the beginning of new approaches and strategies, where the current pandemic is a reminder of the interdependence between human health, animal health and the environment.
“These links highlight the urgent need for increased collaboration at national, regional and global levels to address issues of disease transmission in aquatic ecosystems, zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance as well as aquatic animal welfare. , by promoting an integrated and systemic approach to the One Health concept.
“I believe the symposium provides an excellent platform for international partners to establish and strengthen research collaborations, as well as market opportunities for aquatic products and aquaculture technologies,” he said.
The four-day DAA11 takes place on a hybrid platform at the Borneo Convention Center Kuching (BCCK).
It is organized by the Malaysian Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) with the Sarawak Ministry of Agriculture Modernization and Regional Development (MANRED) and the Fish Health from the Asian Fisheries Society (FHS-AFS).
Among those present were Federal Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee and Minister of Agriculture Modernization and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.