Last Update : Sunday, 19 August, 2018 12:32:54 AM

Tiger Prawn Farming in Tawau


Starting 2009 all aquaculture farm operators in Sabah will be licensed in stages to ensure the industry was better managed, established and dynamic and continued to contribute to the economic development of the State.

All operators who had a breeding area of more than 0.4ha must have a license in line with the Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Enactment 2003.

The European Union wants Malaysian products to meet requirements like being clean and safe. The industry had to be managed and controlled to always meet international standards.

The mangrove forest along Batu Payung has been developed for aquaculture activities. Aquaculture farms at Batu Payung is the biggest in Sabah, it is still expanding.

Sabah has now 7,000 freshwater aquaculture farmers and 2,635 brackish-water farmers.

Prawn farming is a main commercial activities in Tawau. Spawners from Tawau are graded the best in Malaysia. For decades, Tawau has been exporting high-grade tiger prawns to neighboring countries such as Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. Tiger  prawns are cultivated in brackish water ponds. The tiger prawn, Penaeus Monodon, is the main species farmed in Tawau.

Sabah is the largest tiger prawn producer in Malaysia. Prawn farming is carried out mostly in Tawau, Sandakan, Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran and Kota Belud.

Since time immemorial, people in Tawau have relied on the sea for their sustenance. A great variety of high-grade fishes and all kinds of crustaceans were found in abundance in the sea and waterways around Tawau. To the early settlers, nearly all seafarers, making a living from the sea was easy. And in the age of subsistence economy with a small population, in-shore fishing using sampans was the norm. There was apparently no urgency or necessity to organize the fishing folk to engage in commercial deep-sea fishing. However the Chartered Company soon realized the potential of developing deep-sea fishing as a means to augment and diversify the existing economic base. Once again they turned to the Japanese, at that time the most modern Asian country and an ally of Britain.

In 1917, a Japanese merchant marine captain Jiro Orita launched the Borneo Fishing Company, which differs from the previous fishing efforts in at least two ways. Firstly, it was a larger operation and secondly, it was geared to support the export market. The company set up an office in Tawau. The fishes were caught in the surrounding waters, taken to Pulau Si Amil, an island about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Semporna, where they were processed and then, taken to the company's warehouse in Tawau to await shipment. Orita imported his labour from Japan and Taiwan. Orita's Ice Plant, developed mainly for the freezing of fish , also supplied ice to the town.

Today, prawn farming is one of the main activities in Tawau. Spawners from Sabah, especially Tawau, are graded the best in Malaysia. For this reason, Tawau has been supplying high-grade tiger prawns to neighbouring countries, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan for decades.

A few hundreds deep sea trawlers and tuckboats can be seen at Cowie Bay.


Tiger prawns production in Langkawi

Langkawi is one of the producers of high quality tiger prawns which are marketed through a network of leading supermarkets in Kuala Lumpur. No chemicals are used throughout the cultivation process of the prawns.

The island's tiger prawns also reach a commendable size with 35 to 40 prawns making up one kilogramme.

To meet this growing demand, tiger prawns cultivator, Sumber Nadi Alam, a subsidiary of bumiputera owned Marine Ventures Sdn Bhd (TMV) plans to open 20 more of the tiger prawns breeding farms. This would bring Sumber Nadi Alam's total number of prawn breeding farms to 42 at the Bukit Malut breeding project site, here.

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