RAS Aquaculture’s Founder Unveils Startling Reality: Malaysia’s Aquaculture Industry Battles 5 Major Threats, Triggering Alarming Drop in Production. Land Cost, Environmental Pollution, and Labor Shortages Strike Hard as Sustainability Concerns Loom Large.
“Should we be worried about our intake of animal-sourced protein? Should we continue to have a much greater consumption of fish than the world average (nearly three times the global mean of 20.3 kg per capita per year)? Should we be aware of the sharp drop in aquaculture production from 269,431 to 202,966 tons?” asked the founder of RAS Aquaculture, Yit Tung in an interview with Maritime Fairtrade. “The Malaysians, unfortunately, are not aware of all these questions,” he continued.
Founded in 2017, RAS Aquaculture, based in Johor, has expanded the agricultural and organic farming spectrum in Kluang by introducing indoor aquaculture, which includes culturing Scylla mud crab, Vannamei shrimp, and Tilapia fish. At present, RAS Aquaculture has six farms located in Malaysia – four in Johor, one in Terengganu, and one in Ipoh. The Kluang farm alone has supplied fresh mud crab to 52 restaurants in Kluang, Batu Pahat, and Palor.
In 2019, Malaysia’s fisheries industry accounted for 1.1 percent of the global total, with 0.4 percent coming from aquaculture. This increased the national agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 8.9 percent and generated 1.75 million jobs for Malaysians. According to the National Agro-Food Policy (NAFP) from 2011 to 2020, the aquaculture industry is marked as a high-value activity and is expected to grow by 8.6 percent over the nine-year period. This interview focuses on the struggles of the aquaculture industry in Malaysia and how they have caused a rapid decrease in production.