AVA seeks ideas for better fish farming systems

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has received S$1.25 million in government funding to develop a sea-based farming system that would be more sustainable.

After February’s mass fish deaths, which has left some fish farms still reeling from the losses, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) will be calling for proposals on better farming systems to help fish farmers withstand adverse environmental factors.

Speaking at the opening of Lorong Halus Jetty on Thursday (July 24), Minister of State (National Development and Defence) Mohamad Maliki Osman said the AVA has received S$1.25 million from the Co-Innovation Partnership, which encourages companies to develop innovative solutions with the Government, to develop a sea-based farming system that would be more sustainable.

With the funding, the AVA will work with fish farms and related companies to develop a closed containment aquaculture system, said Dr Maliki.

Such a system would help fish farms here mitigate against adverse environmental conditions, he added. The episode in February had left about 160 tonnes of fish dead in farms in the East and West Johor Straits.

The AVA is requesting for proposals at the end of next month.

Giving an update about the AVA’s assistance package to help farmers who had lost their fish stocks, Dr Maliki said almost all the affected farms had taken up the package and more than 90 per cent are in the process of restocking their farms.

The funding support, which was to have ended next month, will be extended until December, as some fish farmers have asked for more time to purchase fry and equipment, said Dr Maliki. This would, hopefully, help farmers to resume normal production levels by early next year, he said.

Dr Maliki also urged fish farms to embrace technology, automation and the upgrading of farming systems.

During his visit to the Netherlands and Denmark last month, Dr Maliki visited two land-based fish farms that used Recirculating Aquaculture Systems for fish culture in controlled indoor environments. With those, he said, farms were able to grow fish on limited land and water supply and they were protected against adverse environmental conditions.

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