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Bah Piyan Tan, Nazri Ishak and Badariah Mohd Ali
Fisheries Biosecurity Division
Department of Fisheries Malaysia
Putrajaya
Malaysia

ABSTRACT

The fisheries sector in Malaysia contributed RM10,620.97 million, in value increasing by 6.85% in 2011 compared 2010. The Food fish sector which comprises of marine capture fisheries, inland fisheries and aquaculture (excluding seaweed) produced 1,665,856.77 tons with a value of RM9,379.94 million, signifying a decrease of 7.79% and 0.34% respectively in terms of quantity and value compared to 2010. The national production from aquaculture sub-sector contributed 287,057.41 tons valued at RM2,385.64 million decreased by 23.07% and 12.15% respectively compared to 2010. The aquaculture sub-sector comprises the fresh water fish aquaculture and brackishwater aquaculture. A total of 28,599 fish farmers and culturists were involved in the aquaculture industry which is increasing by 8.78% as compared with 26,291 persons in 2010. The Department of Fisheries (DoF) and Ministry of Health (MOH) are the two competent authorities (CAs) responsible for the official control and official guarantee program on food safety for aquaculture products along the supply chain. The official control programs comprise registration, approval, certification and sampling program. Owner of aquaculture farm and fish cage that supply raw material for exports to the European Union (EU), United States of America (USA), Vietnam and China is required to register under the Department of Fisheries. Fish Quality Certificate (FQC), Malaysia Aquaculture Farm certification Scheme (SPLAM) and Good Aquaculture Practice Scheme (SAAB) will be awarded after the farms and cages complied with the audit. The Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and HACCP Certification Scheme were under MOH. The sampling program comprises of Aquaculture Residue monitoring Plan (ARMP), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Aquaculture and Feed Mill Monitoring Program are conducted by the DoF is to ensure aquaculture raw material at source is safe for humans and in good quality. The others official control program are Fish Health Surveillance and Inspection Program. The National Fish Disease Notification is to control the spreading of aquatic animal disease. The fishery End Product Monitoring Plan was conducted under MOH. Legislation and regulation involved under DoF are The Fisheries Act 1985 and the Fisheries (Quality Control of Fish for Export to the European Union) Regulation 2009. Meanwhile for MOH are the Food Act 1983, the food Hygiene Regulations 2009 and The Food (Issuance of Health certificate for Export of Fish and Fish Products to the European Union) Regulations 2009. Malaysian competent authorities are committed to ensure aquaculture products are safe for human consumption of good quality and equivalent with importing countries requirement.

Keywords: Aquaculture, food safety, official control

INTRODUCTION

Malaysia lies within 1000 and 1190 East longitudes, and 70 North latitude (Fig. 1). Neighboring countries are Thailand to the north and Singapore to the south. The country consists of two land masses with a total area of 330,434 square kilometres: Peninsular Malaysia is located south of Thailand, while East Malaysia, comprising the states of Sabah and Sarawak, stretches along the northern part of Borneo. The two land masses are separated by the South China Sea. Malaysia has a total coastline of 4,675 km, with 2,068 km for the Peninsular and about 2,607 km for East Malaysia. It is on a strategic location along Straits of Malacca and the southern South China Sea.

In 2011, the fisheries sector, comprising of Food fish and Non-Food fish, contributed RM10,620.97 million, an increase of 6.85% compared to 2010. The Food fish sector which comprises of marine capture fisheries, inland fisheries and aquaculture (excluding seaweed) produced 1,665,856.77 tons with a value of RM9,379.94 million, signifying a decrease of 7.79% and 0.34% respectively in terms of quantity and value compared to 2010. For the Non-Food fish sector, seaweeds, ornamental fish and aquatic plants contributed RM1,241.03 million, an increase of 135.07% compared to 2010. Fish production from the fisheries sector contributed 1.1% to the GDP* in the year 2011 (Annual statistic DoF, 2011).

Marine capture fisheries sub-sector comprising of inshore and deep-sea fisheries is still the major contributor producing 1,373,105 tons (82.43%), valued at RM6,939.47 million (73.98%) respectively decreasing by 3.90% in terms of quantity and 4.32% increase in terms of value compared to 2010. Nonetheless, 2011 contribution have exceeded the target of 1,356.6 tons and RM6,805 million set under the National Agro-Food Policy for 2011.

Aquaculture

In 2011, national production from the food aquaculture sub-sector contributed 287,057.41 tons valued at RM2,385.64 million decreased by 23.07% and 12.15% respectively compared to 2010. The seaweed production contributed 239,450.00 tons valued at RM670.46 million in 2011.

In the year 2011, a total of 28,599 fish farmers and culturists were involved in the aquaculture industry increasing by 8.78% as compared with 26,291 persons in 2010. The majority of the workforces of 21,992 persons were involved in the freshwater aquaculture sub-sector which accounted for 76.90% of the total fish farmers/culturists in the country. The remaining 23.10% or 6,607 fish farmers/culturists were involved in the brackishwater aquaculture industry. The freshwater fish culture contributed 122,218.73 tons valued at RM684.15 million. Its production and value showed a decline of 21.35% and 10.02% when compared to 2010 with 155,398.63 tons valued at RM760.34 million.

Brackish aquaculture

Brackishwater aquaculture production in 2011 contributed 164,838.68 tons valued at RM1,701.49 million. Its production and value was decrease by 24.30% and 12.98% from 217,757.37 tons valued at RM1,955.24 million in 2010.

Export and import of fish trade

The export value of fisheries commodities increasing to RM 2.328 million compared to RM 2,112.5 million in 2009. The main commodities exported were shrimps (51%), fresh/chilled/frozen fish (23%) and fish preparations (15%). Import value of fisheries commodities showed an increase from RM2.098 million in 2009 to RM 2,219 million. The main commodities imported were fresh/chilled/frozen fish (54%), shrimps (31%) and fish preparations (21%)( Annual statistic DoF, 2010).

During the end of November 2010, a post-import inspection programme was established to focus on the gold fish and carp species which were imported mainly from China (Gold fish) and Japan (Carp). As of 31 December 2010, eight post-import inspection activities had been carried out on eight importers establishments.

FOOD SAFETY AUTHORITIES FOR AQUACULTURE PRODUCTS IN MALAYSIA

In Malaysia there are two competent authorities (CAs) involved in food safety assurance for aquaculture products along the supply chain. The Department of Fisheries (DoF) is responsible to ensure raw material obtained from the source is in good quality and safe for human consumption. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is responsible for ensuring safety of aquaculture products produced at the processing establishment for local and export market. The Ministry of Health is also responsible for controlling transport vehicles supplying raw materials for the production of aquaculture products. The Ministry of Health is the Central Competent Authority (CCA) for EU and responsible for issuance of health certificate for fish products export to EU.

However, the DOF is the competent authority for the issuance of health certificate for live fish for exporting to EU and other importing countries. As a competent authority at the primary production the official control program is also the main program conducted in ensuring that aquaculture produce is safe to be consumed.

OFFICIAL CONTROL PROGRAMS CONCERNING PUBLIC HEALTH

Department of Fisheries (DoF) Malaysia and Ministry of Health have developed official control and official guarantee programs to ensure the safety of aquaculture products from farm to table. The official control programs carried out concerning the public health comprises of registration, approval, certification and sampling program. These programs are as listed below:

  • a. Registration and Approval Program for Fish Farm/Cages, Hatchery, Fishing Vessel and Feedmiller
  • b. Aquaculture Residue Monitoring Plan (ARMP)-Farm
  • c. Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Aquaculture Program
  • d. Feedmill Monitoring Program
  • e. Fishery End Product Monitoring

a. Registration and approval program for fish farms/cages, hatchery, fishing vessel and feedmiller

Under the registration program, aquaculture fish farms and cages need to register with the Department of Fisheries. This registration program is to ensure that the raw material from aquaculture fish farms/cages are monitored by the Competent Authority. Pre-registration process will be carried out at the state level and approved at the headquarters. Aquaculture fish farms and fish cages that have been approved will be given registration number and monitored closely by the Department of Fisheries.

Currently, aquaculture fish farm and fish cage owners who supply their raw materials to establishment for export purposes to countries like European Union (EU), United States of America (USA), Vietnam and China are required to register with the Department of Fisheries. By the year 2013, all aquaculture products from Malaysia for export market have to be obtained from registered aquaculture fish farms/cages. For food processing establishments, registration is under the purview of the Ministry of Health.

Registered aquaculture fish farms/cages supplying raw material to processing establishment and exporting to the European Union (EU) must be approved by the Department of Fisheries. Approval of aquaculture fish farms/cages is depending on the audit process (compliance audit) which is conducted by the Department of Fisheries auditors.

Aquaculture fish farms/cages which passed the compliance audit will be awarded a Fish Quality Certificate (FQC) with the validity of one calendar year. Within the validity period, the aquaculture fish farms/cages must also undergo surveillance audit twice a year before the certificate expires. The objective of this surveillance audit is to verify maintenance of the approved aquaculture fish farms/cages compliance status.

While for processing establishments that wish to export their fisheries products to the EU or intend to export to the EU the establishment must be approved by the Ministry of Health, as approved facilities, they are subject to more stringent controls and audits. At present the requirement is only meant for the EU market and does not apply to processingestablishments exporting to other countries.

All the registered farms are required to participate in the sampling program. The sampling program is part of the official control conducted by the Department of Fisheries in order to ensure aquaculture raw materials at source are safe and in good quality. There are four sampling programs implemented by the Department of Fisheries as follows:

  • i) Aquaculture Residue Monitoring Plan (ARMP)
  • ii) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Aquaculture Program
  • iii) Feedmill Monitoring Program
  • iv) Fishery End Product Monitoring Plan

b. Aquaculture Residue Monitoring Plan (ARMP)

This program is confined to monitoring the residue in shrimps from brackish water ponds; finfish from marine and brackish water ponds and; marine and fresh water cages in the aquaculture sub sector. These commodities are produced on commercial scale and are intended for the export market. The objectives of this program are:

  • - To serve as an important part of an overall strategy to minimize or eliminate unwanted /undesired residues and contaminants in aquaculture products;
  • - To provide assurance to importing country on the safety and quality of Malaysian aquaculture products; and
  • - To provide verification to the overall residue and contaminants program, identifying potential residue problems and indicating where corrective actions are required.

Under this program, samples are taken from registered farms throughout the country for analysis (Table 1). The Analysis is carried out for parameters such as chloramphenicols, nitrofurans, nitroimidazoles, antibacterial substances, antelmintics, organochlorine compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chemical elements (cadmium, plumbum, mercury), malachite green, leuco-malachite green and crystal violet. Table 2 and Table 3 show the number of analyzed parameter of the ARMP program for shrimps and finfish respectively, from year 2008 to 2013.

The species involved in the sampling program for shrimps are Black Tiger Prawns (Penaeus monodon) and Exotic White Shrimps (Litopenaeus vannamei), while for finfish are Seabass (Lates calcarifer), Groupers (Epinephelus spp.), Silver pompano (Trachinotus spp.), Tilapia (Tilapia spp.), River Catfish (Pangasius spp.), Snappers (Lutjanus spp.)

The ARMP provides useful information in assuring importing countries on the quality and safety of the aquaculture produce. It is a prerequisite program for the export of aquaculture products to the European Union. Data from this program can be used as a guarantee for certifying the residue and contaminant status of aquaculture produce.

c. Sanitary Phytosanitary Aquaculture Program

The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Aquaculture program was established purposely to maintain appropriate sanitary and phytosanitary protection and to reduce possible arbitrariness of decisions as well as to encourage consistent decision-making. The SPS Aquaculture program objectives are:

  • - To ensure that aquaculture produce are safe to be consumed;
  • - To protect humans from risks arising from additives, contamination, toxins or disease-causing organisms in aquaculture food product;
  • - To protect human life or health from disease carried by animals, plants or products thereof, or from the entry, establishment or spread of pests;
  • - To strengthen consumer confidence in the safety of the aquaculture products;
  • - To demonstrate control system of the competent authority in compliance with Sanitary Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement; and
  • - To develop a program to help reduce food borne disease

This SPS Aquaculture program is currently confined to shrimps from brackish water ponds; finfish from marine and brackish water ponds and; marine and fresh water cages in the aquaculture sub sector. These commodities are produced on commercial scale and for export markets other than the European Union (EU). The SPS Program started in 2012 and emphasized the aquaculture farms which are not involved in the ARMP program. Table 4 indicates the number of samples taken from year 2011 to 2013.

The samples are randomly taken from the registered farms for veterinary drug residue (chloramphenicols, nitrofurans, nitroimidazoles), malachite green, antibiotic, microbiology and heavy metal analysis (plumbum, cadmium, mercury) and pesticide. The microbiology parameter is Salmonella, Faecal coliform, E-coli, V. parahaemolyticus, V. cholera). Table 5 shows the sample analysed for SPS aquaculture by the parameters from year of 2011 to 2013.

d. Feedmill monitoring program

Feedmill monitoring program focuses on fish/shrimps feed production for aquaculture industry in Malaysia. This program is carried out to monitor fish/shrimps feed manufacturers in the country from using unapproved or prohibited drugs or chemicals stipulated under The Feed Act 2009. It also aim to provide guarantee and assurance to importing countries on the safe and quality of Malaysian feeds and aquaculture products. It is also in line with the good aquaculture practices (GAqP) requirements and certification scheme. The criteria for verification of the feedstuff follow the Regulation (EC) 183/2005 requirement on Feed Hygiene.

The Department of Fisheries staff will take samples at registered feed manufacturer establishment as indicated in Table 6. The samples taken are twice a year. The types of the samples comprise of pre starter, starter and finish at manufacture premises. The samples were analyzed for parameter such as heavy metal (cadmium, mercury, plumbum) antibiotic, melamine, mycotoxin and growth promoter (Table 7).

This program is conducted by the MOH at the processing establishment. Ministry of Health has developed official control programs on products of origin intended for human consumption. The fishery products monitoring program carried out under MOH is called as Capture Fishery Monitoring Program and Fishery End Products Monitoring Program. Samples are taken from the end product to monitor contaminant, antioxidant, microbiology and additives content in the raw materials of capture fishery and fishery end products including aquaculture products.

e. Official control program concerning fish health management

The Department of Fisheries has developed official control to ensure the management of fish health. The official control programs concerning fish health management comprise of registration, approval, certification and sampling program. Under this program there are two main programs involve namely Fish Health Surveillance and Inspection Program and National Fish Disease Notification program.

Fish health surveillance and inspection program

Fish health surveillance and inspection program is an official control program implemented by the Department of Fisheries. The scope of surveillance and inspection of aquatic animal health covers aquaculture fish farms and fish cages. The Disease Surveillance Program is being carried out at least twice (2) a year as indicated in Table 8, Table 9 and Table 10 respectively.

National fish disease notification

Notification of disease is a mandatory system which allows for co-ordination and monitoring if there are any reasons to suspect the presence of disease in a country. It enables the Department of Fisheries and stakeholders to take immediate measures to control the spreading of aquatic animal diseases with adverse impact to aquaculture industry in the country.

LEGISLATION & REGULATION

As an official assurance and in order to ensure that aquaculture products are of good quality and safe for human consumption, the competent authorities have to abide by the legislation and regulation. Under the Department of Fisheries, the legislation and regulation involved are The Fisheries Act 1985, the Fisheries (Quality Control of Fish for Export to the European Union) Regulation 2009 and Fisheries Regulation Compliance of Fish Disease Control for Export and Import 2012.

For the Ministry of Health, official controls are based on the Food Act 1983, Food Regulation 1985, Food Hygiene Regulations 2009 and Food (Issuance of Health Certificate for Export of Fish and Fish Product to the European Union) Regulations 2009.

CERTIFICATION

The Department of Fisheries has introduced two certification programs in aquaculture sector namely the Malaysian Aquaculture Farm Certification Scheme (SPLAM) and Good Aquaculture Practice Scheme (SAAB). The main objective of this certification scheme program is to encourage aquaculture fish farm/cages farmers to implement good aquaculture practices in producing safe and quality aquaculture products. The Malaysian Aquaculture Farm Certification Scheme (SPLAM) is targeted for big scale/commercial aquaculture fish farms/cages while Good Aquaculture Practice Scheme (SAAB) is for small scale aquaculture fish farms/cages and both certification schemes are on a voluntary basis. The SPLAM will be named as a MyGAP and will be implemented end of the year 2013. The scheme is based on the Malaysian Standard MS 1998:2007 Aquaculture Farm General Guidelines and MS 2467 for seaweeds. The SAAB will be rebranding into a new scheme in line with the development of aquaculture industry in Malaysia. With this new development, the Malaysian government has imposed a new policy that allows only freshwater fish obtained from farm with SAAB or SPLAM certification can supply to all government premises such as the army camps, prisons and government boarding schools.

The Ministry of Health, as the competent authority responsible for the control of the food aspects of the processing establishment, has two certification schemes known as Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Certification Scheme and HACCP Certification Scheme for all products including aquaculture and seafood based products. GMP Certification is more for companies/SMEs that produce food for local market while HACCP Certification Scheme is meant for big manufacturers. However, mandatory implementation of HACCP System in seafood/aquaculture processing establishments for export purposes is based on importing countries' requirements. Ministry of Health is the authority in the issuance of health certificates for fisheries products to be exported to EU and other countries.

CONCLUSION

Malaysian Competent Authorities are committed to ensure that aquaculture products are safe for human consumption and of good quality and equivalent with importing countries' requirements. Overall, no contravenes results were detected in the monitoring program. Implementation of the food safety management program for aquaculture products has shown improvement that the farmers are more disciplined and confident with quality and safety of their aquaculture products. The farm operators are also committed to carry out their own-check monitoring program in their farm. However, the responsibility for food safety is shared by everyone involved in the food industry along the supply chain from production to consumption, including growers, processors, regulators, distributors, retailers and consumers.

REFERENCES

  • Lembaga Penyelidikan Undang-Undang, Fisheries Act 1985 (Act 317) and Regulations (Hingga 25hb Julai 2006), International Law Book Services.
  • Annual Fisheries Statistics 2010. Volume 1, Department of Fisheries Malaysia, 2010.
  • Annual Fisheries Statistics 2011. Jilid 1, Volume 1, Department of Fisheries Malaysia, 2011.
  • Food Act 1983, MDC Publishers Sdn. Bhd. (91168-A), 2007.
  • Standard Operating Procedure for Aquaculture 2010, Fisheries Biosecurity Division, Department Of Fisheries Malaysia, Putrajaya
  • Bah Piyan Tan, National Monitoring Program of Aquaculture for Food Safety Assurance, 2013 in Food Safety Conference NUCLEAR Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.


Index of Images

  • Table 1 Aquaculture Residue Monitoring Programme (ARMP) from year 2008 to 2013

    Table 1 Aquaculture Residue Monitoring Programme (ARMP) from year 2008 to 2013

  • Table 2 Number of samples taken by parameter of the ARMP for shrimps from year 2008-2013

    Table 2 Number of samples taken by parameter of the ARMP for shrimps from year 2008-2013

  • Table 3 Number of samples taken by parameter of the ARMP for finfish from year 2008-2013

    Table 3 Number of samples taken by parameter of the ARMP for finfish from year 2008-2013

  • Table 4. Number of samples plan and taken for SPS Aquaculture for year 2011-2013

    Table 4. Number of samples plan and taken for SPS Aquaculture for year 2011-2013

  • Table 5 Number of samples taken for SPS Aquaculture from year 2011 to 2013

    Table 5 Number of samples taken for SPS Aquaculture from year 2011 to 2013

  • Table 6 Number of samples plan and taken for feedstuffs from 2010 to 2013

    Table 6 Number of samples plan and taken for feedstuffs from 2010 to 2013

  • Table 7 Number of samples taken by parameter for feedstuffs from 2010 to 2013

    Table 7 Number of samples taken by parameter for feedstuffs from 2010 to 2013

  • Table 8 Diseases surveillance program for shrimps

    Table 8 Diseases surveillance program for shrimps

  • Table 9 Diseases surveillance program for freshwater food fish

    Table 9 Diseases surveillance program for freshwater food fish

  • Table 10 Diseases surveillance program for marine food fish

    Table 10 Diseases surveillance program for marine food fish

  • Fig. 1 Map of Malaysia (Peninsular and East Malaysia)

    Fig. 1 Map of Malaysia (Peninsular and East Malaysia)

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