Find Fisheries expertise in Malaysia

With an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 418,000km2, a coastline of over 4800km, and a shelf area of 450,000 km2, Malaysia has extensive fishery resources. In 2008, fisheries, together with agriculture and forestry contributed 10% to Malaysia’s GDP. An estimated 111,000 Malaysians are involved in fisheries; however, those working in the secondary sector and supporting industries were not included in calculations. In other words, fisheries in Malaysia are a crucial livelihood and support many coastal communities.

Malaysia has always been a net importer of fish in terms of volume, and an exporter in monetary terms. Imports largely come from China (21%), Thailand (20%) and Indonesia (15%), while the United States is the main export market (25%), followed by Singapore (13%), Italy (9%) and Japan (7%).

The fisheries sector is generally considered to consist of marine capture fisheries and aquaculture as production from inland fisheries is negligible at 0.3% of total catch. This is because Malaysia does not have large river systems or natural lakes, and with increasing industrialisation, many of the river systems are being polluted. The vast majority of catch (88%) is from marine capture fisheries, of which the catch profile consists of the pelagic Indian Mackerel (about 40%) which has always been the dominant catch species, the round scad (23%), squid (15%), tuna and tuna like species (13%), threadfin bream (9%) and marine shrimp.

The final 12% of catch comes from aquaculture which has been identified as having the most potential for further development. The aquaculture sector provided direct employment to 20,100 fish culturists in 2006. In 2007, the catch profile was cockle (29%), followed by aquatic plants (18%), tilapia (16%), banana prawn (15%), Clarias catfish (14%) and giant tiger prawn (7%).

Malaysia is a world leader in its drive to establish fisheries that are responsible and sustainable. The main tools used by the government to achieve a responsible and sustainable fisheries sector include access limitations (limited entry), gear restrictions, spatial restrictions (zonation’s, establishment of marines parks and reserves), and temporal restrictions to protect spawning areas.

Fisheries organisations in Malaysia
Department of Fisheries