Penang has huge potential to attract tuna industry players, says Malaysian minister

GEORGE TOWN (BERNAMA) – Penang has a huge potential to attract more tuna landings from fisheries industry players with the availability of international standard facilities and infrastructure.

Malaysian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said as of 2019, 17 tuna fishing vessels and one tuna carrier were licensed and have since been operating in the Indian Ocean.

He said Penang has suitable facilities in terms of international flights through the Penang International Airport and international port facilities at the Penang Port.

“We want to see industry players continue to grow the industry and their services to make Malaysia an important tuna landing hub in the region,” he told reporters after making a working visit to evaluate the development of the tuna fishing industry recently.

Kiandee said Malaysia, being considered an Indian Ocean littoral country and being a member of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, meant Malaysian fishermen were accorded the right to catch tuna in the Indian Ocean.

Malaysian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee during his visit to the Tuna Gallery of the Fisheries Research Institute of Malaysia. PHOTO: BERNAMA

“The demand for tuna globally has increased over time even though COVID-19 has impacted the industry,” he said, adding that last year, 101,627.32 tonnes of tuna worth MYR900 million landed in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Kiandee said tuna demand worldwide has declined due to the pandemic, with Malaysia seeing a 30 per cent reduction in demand.

However, he said tuna export has gradually recovered since early this month and is expected to return to normal by year-end.

“Actually, the problems faced by tuna exporters during the movement control order (MCO) were logistics and distribution.

“The situation is expected to fully recover with global demand returning to normal by year-end,” he added.