Fish breeders forced to sell on the cheap

Trying times: Workers working at Chew’s fish farm in Nibong Tebal on Penang mainland.

GEORGE TOWN: With the pandemic not slowing down just yet, quality fish breeders have been forced to reduce the capacity at their farms and sell their fish on the cheap in wet markets.

Chew Thong Tai, 53, who owns a fish farm in Nibong Tebal, said without events like banquets and festive dining, they were unable to sell their fish.

“It makes no difference even if dine-ins are now allowed because many restaurants do not open for dine-ins.

“Even if they do, there are not many people who come out so orders for fish like groupers, snappers and pomfrets are not coming in.

“Nowadays, we have gotten used to this situation. So, many of us cut down on supply and rear less than the capacity we used to take in,” he said in an interview recently.

Chew said even so, many fish breeders had to sell their stock on the cheap.

“This is especially when our fish has grown too big. If we have no buyers by then, we are forced to sell this to traders in the markets at half price.“Otherwise, it would be a waste with the cost we are bearing for fish feed. We cannot continue breeding the fish to full size because we would eventually be forced to sell at cheaper prices anyway,” he explained.

Another fish breeder in Teluk Bahang, Ooi Hye Hin, 58, said on the island, many breeders were facing the same problems.

“For us, even if we want to sell the fish at cheaper prices, it is hard to find buyers.

“With restaurants cutting down orders and some eateries remaining closed to dine-ins, we can only sell to traders in the markets.

“But nowadays, markets are ordered to close one by one due to positive cases. So, it is even harder for us to sell our supply,” he added.

Ooi said presently, many fish breeders had cut down their farm capacity by 30% to reduce the losses.

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