Turning NS into Malaysia’s lobster central

Lobster is a high-value species and popular livestock farmed in Negeri Sembilan, especially in Kuala Pilah and Jelebu. (Bernama pic)

SEREMBAN: The Negeri Sembilan Fisheries Department is committed to making the state a “national lobster farming valley” in view of the high market demand for the crustacean, said its director, Halimi Abu Hanip.

He said his team was now actively providing technical advisory services and contributing livestock input to the freshwater prawn farmers in a focused and targeted manner, including conducting research to produce quality lobster seeds in collaboration with the Glami Lemi Fisheries Research Institute here.

“The intention to make this state a lobster farming valley has been in planning for three years because of the high potential. So our efforts have been continuous and enhanced towards achieving that.

“Many things need to be done to ensure it runs smoothly, such as encouragement to the breeders, good irrigation system and pool management knowledge, adding suitable land for new ponds as well as capital resources and quality lobster seeds,” he said.

He said lobster is a high-value species and popular livestock farmed in Negeri Sembilan, especially in Kuala Pilah and Jelebu, as the market price could reach between RM65 to RM70 per kilogramme.

Halimi said lobster production in Negeri Sembilan rose to 64.66 tonnes last year from 64.05 tonnes in 2018 and 43.01 tonnes in 2017.

However, there was a significant drop in this year’s production following the coronavirus pandemic.

He said so far there are nearly 50 lobster farmers in the state and he expects an increase in the number of breeders and yields next year when the country’s economy recovers from the effects of Covid-19.

Asked about measures to help farmers who find it difficult to market their livestock products due to the pandemic, he said the JPNS remained in close contact with them and was actively promoting their lobster sales through various platforms, including social media.

“We also purchased lobster spawn from farmers for the purpose of releasing them into public waters and, through these efforts, reduce the burden of farmers to some extent,” he said.

Halimi said the RM100 million allocation for high-impact agriculture and livestock projects such as lobster farming as announced under the 2021 federal budget could strengthen the sector in all the states, including Negeri Sembilan.

“It is hoped that the production of lobster in Negeri Sembilan can be revived and doubled so that it can achieve an output of more than 100 metric tonnes a year.”