OUT of 200 tuna fishing licences to be issued by the Malaysian Government, only 10% were taken up by fishermen despite the large potential of the industry.
Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee said while there were two tuna landing ports in Penang and Langkawi, the industry still remained below par.
He said Malaysian fishery companies needed to be more competitive to maximise the tuna fishing potential in the Indian Ocean.
Kiandee was speaking at the launch of tuna fishing vessel ‘Ibu Wira 1’ at Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority’s jetty in Batu Maung, Penang.
“Malaysia is a member of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission and last year, we had 19 tuna fishing vessels and a carrier vessel operating in the Indian Ocean.
“The total catch last year was 3,005.13 tonnes with an estimated value of RM40mil, with Penang recording tuna landings of 1,943.84 tonnes valued at RM28mil.
“As of March 31, tuna vessels made 30 landings in Penang Port, an activity which is going on uninterrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, ” he said.
Kiandee, who also visited the Fisheries Research Institute in Batu Maung, said the private sector would be at the forefront in the development of the industry.
A total of 10 strategies, including plans under public-private partnerships, were outlined in the Tuna Industry Strategic Plan 2021-2030 which will synchronise with National Agro Food Policy 2.0.
“One of the strategies is to have 70 Malaysian tuna vessels in the Indian Ocean by 2030.
“The public-private partnership strategy is not only confined to fishing but also to develop the service and logistics industries such as development of ports, transport, storage and processing, ” he said.