GEORGE TOWN: The shortage of fresh cockles has badly affected hawkers, especially those selling char koay teow and curry mee here.
Peace and Joy Coffee Shop owner Cheong Kwai Foong said she was forced to reduce the number of cockles served in her curry mee.
“I used to put about eight cockles per serving but now it is less than five.
“The price has gone up by about 40% as I’m buying a kilo of cockles for RM28. It used to be about RM20 last year,” she said at her shop in Queen Street yesterday.
Char koay teow seller Leow See Kok said that he had stopped using cockles in his dishes for the past year because they were getting more expensive.
“The quality of the cockles has also dropped.
“I have opted to leave it out of my dishes, even though cockles are a compulsory ingredient for fried koay teow. I have not received any complaints from customers,” he said.
The Star reported yesterday that the multi-million ringgit Malaysian cockle breeding industry is on the verge of collapse.
At its peak in 2005, Malaysia produced 100,000 tonnes of cockles for both local consumption and export.
But only 16,000 tonnes were harvested last year in an industry now estimated to be valued at about RM160mil.
Abu Talib Ahmad, senior director of research at the Fisheries Research Institute, had said that all three main cockle breeding states – Selangor, Perak and Johor – were affected by pollution, which in turn resulted in high mortality of cockles.