AS consumers increasingly demand for more sustainable and eco-friendly products, there is a need for producers to relook their practices and processes to ensure that they not only meet consumer demands, but also industry standards.
In this respect, Langbiru Fisheries hopes to change the local aquaculture market with its philosophy and methods to usher in a more sustainable industry.
Aquaculture, the farming of aquatic food sources whether in coastal or inland areas, is increasingly seen as one of the main drivers for the future of food security in the country. Of course, there is also much commercial value in the industry with the ever growing demand for seafood from regional countries.
Given its long coastline, Malaysia is a major producer of marine products. According to the Department of Fisheries Malaysia, Malaysia has the second highest percapita consumption of fish in the Asean region at 46.9kg. The country has a high sufficiency level of fish at 92.1% and exported about RM3.1bil worth of fish products in 2018.
For Eric Dass Anthony, co-founder and executive director of Langbiru, profiting from this booming industry also means tackling the issues of pollution related to the business such as managing the discharge of wastewater containing faeces and chemicals as well as ensuring that there is no spread of disease in fish farms as a result of poor hygiene practices.
Eric suggests that the use of technology can be a possible solution to help fish farmers not only improve farm efficiency, but also help them manage environmental risks. Through technology and data-driven monitoring practices, it is possible for fish farmers to maintain effective effluent management and water quality control, and ensure the efficient use of fishmeal.
This can help minimise the impact of aquaculture on the surrounding biodiversity, particularly for cages located in open waters.
Such efforts can also help ensure that the quality of fishes is maintained, boosting production and profitability for producers.
“Over the longer term, consumers will be increasingly looking for healthier options as more are becoming aware of the risks of pollution and toxic chemicals in wild-caught seafood, ” Eric says.
He adds that the company will continue to explore breeding and rearing technology for other fast-growing species that can generate positive cash flow for the group.
One of the species that the group has started rearing is the golden snappers, which is another species with high export demand.
“Malaysia is well recognised as a Halal food hub, so the markets for Malaysia’s food produce are very big. Even neighbouring Thailand is a potential export market, ” he notes.
“The infrastructure is in place and hugely scalable for aqua-based ventures to be a high-impact business. The market is big enough for new players as our aquaculture industry has excellent potential for cultivating fish and seafood products for domestic and external consumption, ” he adds.