BESUT: A fisherman here has become a millionaire by investing in grouper egg spawning in line with the government’s effort to encourage aquaculture.
The state has targeted fish demand of up to three million tonnes per year with 80% derived from the sea and 20% supplied from aquaculture projects.
Around the waterfront of Kampung Air Tawar here, many young people, especially fishermen, can be seen busy breeding grouper fish eggs with the support of many parties.
One of the breeders, Tuan Fakaruddin Tuan Kadir, 38, of Kampung Air Tawar, Besut, said he was determined to look for a new source of income and was ridiculed when he sold his fishing boat to change his livelihood.
“After that I was determined to try something new by attending a hybrid grouper seed spawning course on Marine Aquaculture Technology at the Fisheries Research Institute of Malaysia (FRI) in Tanjung Demong.
“With the knowledge and advice from FRI, I started raising the grouper step by step before expanding into hybrid grouper egg spawning,” said Fakaruddin who is now earning a seven-figure annual income.
Sharing his experience along with his wife, Zunainaa Abdul Majid, he said when he started a hybrid grouper industry in 2011, he was often ridiculed by the villagers because of the lack of knowledge about fish seeding and hybrid grouper as the market had not been developed.
“I admit that in the beginning I did not have the knowledge and did not know the proper way to breed the fish, but with guidance from the state Fisheries Department and FRI, I managed to learn and become the largest hybrid grouper seed producer in the area,” he said.
Fakaruddin said the state government’s assistance in providing land around the Kampung Air Tawar coast was crucial and that he also received aid to build a RM500,000 hatchery from the Fisheries Department to enable him to carry out hybrid grouper egg spawning.
He added that the process of producing hybrid grouper seed was quite complicated, especially during the fertilisation of grouper fish eggs between male giant groupers and female tiger groupers to produce hybrid groupers.
“I started with eight fish tanks, now I have more than 200 tanks divided into five phases,” said Fakaruddin who currently employs 12 workers.
More interestingly, Fakaruddin’s success not only contributed to the livelihood of his family but he also inspired 30 locals to follow in his footstep by starting a hybrid grouper seed spawning project.
“Now I am also supplying fish fingerlings to other local entrepreneurs as well as sell fish seeds to the market nationwide.
“The current market price for hybrid grouper seeds is between RM6,000 and RM10,000 per million and fish fingerlings can be sold for RM5 to RM7 per piece,” he said.
Meanwhile, Terengganu State Fisheries Department officer Mariam Marip said the state was now a major producer of marine seedlings after recording the production of 1.6 million hybrid grouper seeds last year.
“For hybrid groupers, our production volume is still inadequate because of the high demand due to its high commercial potential.
“The market price can reach up to RM45 per kilogramme compared to only RM19 per kilogramme for sea bass.
“Through the state government and FRI Tanjung Demong initiatives, more people are going into hybrid grouper breeding and they are provided with courses and guidance on seeding and breeding groupers, including hybrid groupers,” she said. — Bernama