THE Penang Fishermen Association is in dire need of a cold storage facility to help stockpile seafood items.
Its chairman Nazri Ahmad said fishermen are finding it difficult to sell seafood which has lost its freshness.
“This is especially the case for ikan kembung (mackerel), which can be sold at RM20 per kg, but after a while, the price can go as low as RM3 per kg.
“Fish and other seafood which cannot be sold, will then be discarded,” he said at the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) in Batu Maung.
He said the preferred size of the cold storage would be one that could accommodate 5,000 tonnes of seafood.
Nazri highlighted this to Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Sim Tze Tzin during his working visit to the LKIM recently.
He also suggested that fishermen be given cash instead of items as their allowance.
“This is to ensure that fishermen get their benefits directly instead of a third party gaining profits.
“We also hope that the nets given out to fishermen would be carried out by LKIM instead of the state government,” he added.
According to Nazri, the association has been managing the jetty in Batu Maung and to date, has made a profit of RM500,000.
“We hope the Federal Govern-ment will allow us to continue managing the jetty instead of getting another company to take over,” he said.
On the reclamation works in Penang, Nazri hopes that the fishermen’s concerns are not sidelined and they would be given a platform to hold discussions.
Sim said the Federal Govern-ment was in the midst of producing a ‘package’ for the fishermen on the matter.
He said that details of the arrangement would be revealed later once it has been finalised by the ministry.
Also present were LKIM deputy director-general Raja Kahalid Raja Arifin and LKIM state director Nik Rashid Nik Jusoh.