Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Identifying Problems among Seabass Brackish-Water Cage Entrepreneurs in Malaysia

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Identifying Problems among Seabass Brackish-Water Cage Entrepreneurs in Malaysia

Article excerpt

Abstract

As the strain on marine sources escalates, the aquaculture industry is becoming a viable alternative. Due to its potential to generate income for the community, interest in aquaculture is mounting. In line with this mounting interest, information with regards to the expected challenges within the industry serves as important preparation for future aquaculture entrepreneurs. Despite its importance, however, the availability of such data is lacking, and this study attempts to fill this gap by identifying the problems faced by the sea bass brackish-water cage entrepreneurs in Malaysia. The qualitative study uses in-depth interviews with aquaculture entrepreneurs who run sea bass rearing organizations at four different locations in Malaysia. Based on the analysis, four main themes are identified, namely financial, human factors, environmental and stakeholders. The ensuing discussion attempts to highlight points of interest for those who might venture into brackish-water cage aquaculture.

Keywords: aquaculture, community development, entrepreneurship

1. Introduction

China leads the aquaculture industry, with 66.7% of the global aquaculture stock being produced there, while 22.8% is produced in other Asian countries and the remaining 10.5% is produced in the European and African continents (Li et al., 2011). In accordance with the global trend, aquaculture is a flourishing industry in Malaysia. The rapid development of this industry has attracted local attention; it has become one of the most productive industries and has thereby enhanced the community's socio-economic development. As pressure on natural marine resources continues to increase, turning to aquaculture as an alternative resource is seen as an important step. The industry is gaining support from consumers as the demand for aquaculture products in Malaysia mounts (DOF, 2010). In acknowledging the importance of the industry to the country and the community, the Malaysian government has launched a number of schemes to encourage public involvement in the industry, such as Zone Industry Aquaculture High Impact Project (Note 1) and the e-Kasih Program (Note 2). In addition, a number of financial agencies, such as Agro Bank Malaysia, are offering loans with minimum interest for those who intend to venture into the industry. The impact of these efforts is clear, as the number of aquaculture entrepreneurs in Malaysia increased between 2008 and 2010. In addition, as a response to these programs and efforts, it can be seen that social acceptance of aquaculture among the public has increased (Faiz et al., 2010).

To further develop the industry, there has been an abundance of local and international studies, which focus in particular on the technical aspects of aquaculture. Nonetheless, researchers have devoted fewer attempts to the social aspects of aquaculture practices. In realizing this gap, this study's main objective is to explore the problems faced by sea bass aquaculture entrepreneurs in Malaysia. Furthermore, in line with the industry's development, there is a dire need to gather empirical evidence by which to understand and explain the challenges faced by aquaculture entrepreneurs, as it is vital to inform prospective stakeholders about the industry. It is a hoped that through this data, further knowledge on Malaysian aquaculture can be gained and healthy discussions can be derived for its continued development.

1.1 Aquaculture in Malaysia

As declining marine resources poses a threat to national food security, developing the aquaculture industry is seen as an attractive solution. The current development of the aquaculture industry in Malaysia reflects a positive trend, and production levels are able to meet local consumer demand. In Malaysia, the preferred type of aquaculture rearing method among local entrepreneurs is brackish-water cage farming. Among the main reasons for the preference is the stable market price of the resulting fish (Faiz et al. …

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