TAIPING: Cockle farmers in Kuala Sepetang are suffering losses up to RM200,000 because the shellfish are dying – and so is their business.
Kuala Sepetang Cockle Farmers Association president Koay Seng Lam said farmers had been harvesting empty shells since March and many were planning to quit.
Koay, 70, said several farmers had already decided to stop operations as they could not get any more bountiful harvests.
“I am planning to retire. I have been farming cockles for 40 years,” he told The Star.
“I am old but I do hope the younger generation can continue to breed cockles,” he said.
“As of now, we can only wait for test results conducted by the Fisheries Department to know what is causing the cockles to die and what can be done,” he added.
Association treasurer Lee Theng Ghee, 75, said the yield of cockles began to dwindle after the 2004 tsunami.
“We just can’t explain why it is so. We are hoping the Fisheries Department can explain to us,” he said.
Lee said it usually takes up to about 18 months for the cockles to be harvested.
“It is a lot of work to farm cockles.
“Farmers need to check on the cockles regularly to ensure they are thriving,” he said.
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