JERANTUT: The aquatic industry made a major breakthrough when the Perlok Aquaculture Development Centre near here succeeded in efforts to cultivate ikan kelah.
Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Sharif Omar said that research and cultivation work on the fish started in 2000.
He said the centre collected samples of the fish from Sungai Krau and Sungai Tanum in Kuala Lipis and Sungai Air Lanas in Jeli, Kelantan.
“Subsequently, research and development was carried out on the fish before the incubation process took off in 2003.
Mohd Sharif said the project was undertaken to regenerate and restore the supply of the fish, which was dwindling as a result of an “over-catch” situation.
He said the “hormone injection” method applied to cultivate the fish would enable the species to be bred in abundance continuously.
“Previously, the fish required fast-flowing water or a stone-filled stream to multiply naturally,” he said, adding that it fetched a high price of RM250 a kilo in the market.
Mohd Sharif said the Fisheries Department would explore ways to commercialise the breeding of the fish using the new method.
“It can also be bred as a pet for sale in local and foreign markets,” he said, adding that the centre had 250 breeders which could produce eggs three times a year.
He said of the 4,000 to 8,000 eggs, 60% could be bred to mature adults.
Mohd Sharif said the centre had also succeeded in cultivating other species of freshwater fish such as sebarau, lampam sungai, kerai kunyit, baung, temoleh, patin buah, tenggalan and jelawat putih.
He said, so far, the centre had produced 1.7 million off spring, the majority of which were being cultivated at fish farms while the remaining were released into seas and rivers nationwide.