Members of public introduced to freshwater lobster farming

Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail (seated third right) and Dr Alvin Chai (seated third left) in a photo call with the participants.
Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail (seated third right) and Dr Alvin Chai (seated third left) in a photo call with the participants.

KUCHING: Sarawak has a very huge potential in the freshwater lobster industry, said state Agriculture Department acting director Dr Alvin Chai.

In Malaysia, he said only Johor and Sarawak had these wild lobster resources.

“According to the annual statistics from Department of Fisheries Malaysia, Johor has been producing   200 metric tonnes of these lobsters every year.

“With the presence of this species in our two major rivers, namely Sungai Suai, Bintulu and Sungai Nyalau, Batu Niah, I believe Sarawak also has a very huge potential in this industry,” he said at the closing ceremony of freshwater lobster introductory and aquaponics system course in MetroCity, Jalan Matang here yesterday.

Suitable for breeding in ponds, tanks, canvas or small containers, this species can also be kept as aquatic pets.

“With a market price of RM100 per kilogramme (for size up to five inches and above), which is equivalent or higher than the price of giant freshwater prawns, it can be made into a business to gain side income.

“Besides, this lobster species is also crucial to the prawning pond business as it has started using tiger prawns and freshwater lobsters as its supplies,” he explained.

According to Chai, his department planned to carry out two more similar courses this year to cater to the public’s demand for this species.

Elaborating further, he said the freshwater lobster breeding was permitted in Malaysia for aquaculture purposes.

“Those interested should notify the Department of Fisheries Malaysia and the state Agriculture Department in writing for record purposes.

“More importantly, breeders must also ensure that the lobsters are not released into the public waters,” he stressed, adding an aquaponic system for this lobster breeding would be constructed and used as an example to the breeders.

The state Agriculture Department will also set up a farm for freshwater lobster breeding in ponds.

Present to officiate the closing ceremony and hand over certificates to the participants was the Agriculture Assistant Minister Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail.

Organised by the state Agriculture Department, the inaugural one-day course was held to promote freshwater lobsters as a new species for aquaculture in Sarawak.

A total of 34 participants comprising members of the public (potential breeders) and Agriculture Department Inland Fisheries Division staff participated in the programme.