Declining shrimp numbers threaten belacan industry

MELAKA: The state government is hoping to save its traditional belacan (shrimp paste) industry by looking into aquaculture to address the shortage of shrimp along the historic city’s coast, says Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee.

The state Agriculture, Agro-based, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Committee chairman said the declining geragau population is affecting shrimp paste production, which is one of the state’s most lucrative cottage industries.

“Melaka is among the biggest producers of shrimp paste and cincalok (a fermented condiment made from dried shrimp),” he said.

Norhizam said catching shrimp was also popular among the Portuguese community, who have been eking out a living from these marine species over the decades.

“Pantai Kundor, Kuala Sungai Baru and Klebang beaches are among the areas where the shrimp is plentiful.

Norhizam said the state government would look into inland fish farming or coastal cage shrimp farming to increase the production of these species.

He cited favourable environmental conditions and geographical location as factors which brought geragau to Melaka’s coastline.

“Recently, we received feedback that the shrimp population was on the decline and it could be probably due to extreme weather patterns and the rainy season,” he said.

Norhizam said some industry players had received overwhelming orders during the movement control order period.

He said some of the producers had to depend on shrimp from other states to cope with the demand. “Melaka has never faced a shortage of geragau and we hope the situation will return to normal by the end of this year,” he said.

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shrimp paste , industry , melaka


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