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Toward Systematic Breeding of Asian Sea Bass, Lates calcarifer (Bloch, 1790), in Malaysia: Status, Challenges and Prospects for Future Development


March 2022Asian sea bass, Lates calcarifer (Bloch, 1790), is one of the most farmed marine fish in Malaysia since the 1970s and is predominantly cultured at present. Although it has been farmed for some time, there is no systematic breeding programme in place. Local hatcheries rely heavily on wild and imported broodstock. However, imported stocks do not guarantee improved quality and even increase the chances of introducing pathogens into the country. Availability of superior breeding stocks, efficient dissemination and control of seed production could greatly assist in increasing Asian sea bass production. This paper presents the status of Asian sea bass production, its culture history in Malaysia and the current broodstock development programme implemented by the Fisheries Research Institute, particularly in the 11th Malaysia Plan from 2015 to 2020. In brief, broodstock from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia were used as base population and were mated using full diallel method to produce cohorts. Three pairs of the selected broodstock were used for each cross and spawning performance was evaluated. The growth performances of the first generation (F1) offsprings were assessed in different culture systems. Physico-chemical water quality parameters such as dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH and salinity were maintained at optimal levels during all stages of the experiment. Results indicate that the growth performance of F1 improved by more than 60 % in terms of weight gain compared with the base population. The project demonstrated the benefits of using selective breeding to enhance the production of Asian sea bass. 

Full Paper


Socio-Economic Study on Anchovy Fisheries in Langkawi Waters, Kedah


February 2022This study was conducted in 2019 in the waters of Langkawi, Kedah. The results of the study found that on average, anchovy fishing activities have given a monthly income value of RM 37,250.00 (Entrepreneurs), RM 6,500.00 (Local Skipper), RM 5,000.00 (Foreign Skipper), and RM2700.00 (Foreign Crew). The anchovy catch is estimated rate  300,000 kg per annum with a Return on Capital of 264.4% and a Cost-Benefit Value of 2.39. Anchovy entrepreneurs at Langkawi Island still depend on foreign labor from Thailand. Anchovy entrepreneurs in Langkawi no longer use conventional methods in processing anchovies. The caught anchovies will be boiled with salt on the vessel first before drying using a toaster oven after landing. The method of sunbathing is no longer practical as it takes a long time besides hygienic issues such as being exposed to animal disturbances such as insects, dogs, and cats.


Full report can be accessed at Laporan Akhir Projek Rancangan Malaysia ke-11 (RMK-11) Bahagian Perikanan Tangkapan Volume II, Page 66.


Tilapia in Tasik Temenggor: Introduce or Escape?


January 2022 - The Perak State Fisheries Office, Department of Fisheries (DoF) received a claim in 2020 from anglers on the abundance of large-sized tilapias in Lake or Tasik Temenggor, Banding, Perak. Tasik Temenggor is a man-made lake formed after the construction of Temenggor Dam to generate electricity in 1974. With an area of 152 km², the lake has become a source of income for the community living around it, especially in relation to inland fisheries.

It is known as a breeding ground for high value fish like Kelah, Temoleh, Baung, Tengas, Loma, Tengalan, Sebarau and Lampam. The claim from the anglers raised a concern in the DOF and the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) since there are significant tilapias farming activities in Tasik Temenggor. Since 2007, a large scale farming operation was started in an approved Aquaculture Zone at Tasik Temenggor using the Norwegian Genomar Supreme Tilapia, an improved strain derived from the GIFT (Genetically Improved Farm Tilapia) strain.

The GIFT is a product of systematic selective breeding and genetic improvement programs by the World Fish and partners in 1988 using Oreochromis niloticus. The farm operator uses a polar circle HDPE cage, which is a semi-rigid containment net system that is said to control and minimize the number and severity of escapee events. After all these years it is a big question mark whether the cultured tilapia have escaped from the cages and breed in the wild. The fact that tilapia consume a wide range of natural food organisms make them the preeminent predators especially towards fish larvae. 

So, are those tilapias caught by the anglers' escapees from the cages? What do you think? Based on the results alone, we may say that the origins of the Nile tilapia caught by the anglers are not from the cages. It may have been introduced accidentally or intentionally into the lake. At present, we don't have sufficient data on distribution of Tilapias in Malaysia, neither the domesticated nor the wild type. It is high time for us to look into it.

Please visit our FRI Newsletter Vol.24 ,2021 for further info.


Freshwater Stingray Species in Sungai Perak: New Record for Malaysia


January 2022 - Stingrays are synonymous with marine life. Not many Malaysians are aware that some stingrays can live and breed in a freshwater environment for a lifetime without entering marine waters. In Peninsular Malaysia, freshwater stingrays have been recorded in Sungai Pahang (2004), Sungai Perak (2016), and Sungai Kelantan (2019). Apart from these main rivers, stingrays are also found in several tributaries such as Sungai Jelai (Sungai Pahang branch), Sungai Sembrong in Johor (Sungai Endau branch) and Sungai Pergau (Sungai Kelantan branch).

Stingray species found in Sungai Jelai and Sungai Kelantan was confirmed as Fluvitrygon signifer (Compagno & Roberts, 1982). In 2019, another species, namely Urogymnus polylepis (Bleeker, 1852) or locally known as 'ikan pari', was recorded in Sungai Sembrong, Johor. It is believed that many other stingray species are living in Malaysia's main rivers and tributaries especially in rural areas. Thus, there is a need to take into account the existence of these species in Malaysia.

In order to achieve that, Institut Sumber Marin Asia Tenggara (ISMAT) and Fisheries Research Institute, Kampung Acheh (FRIKA) have been working closely together with the local fishers in Sungai Perak since 2016 to study the existence of freshwater stingrays, especially on species that have not been recorded. The results indicated that all five specimens from Sungai Perak were confirmed as Fluvitrygon kittipongi (Vidthayanon & Roberts, 2006) or roughback whipray and locally known as 'pari sungai'.

This species is from the family Dasyatidae and was first recorded in Thailand in 2006. According to the book 'Ray of the World' by Last et al., published in 2016, this species was only found in Thailand and Indonesia. Globally, this species is listed as endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Hence, the discovery of this species in Sungai Perak is a new record for Malaysia. 

Although at present only three freshwater species have been recorded in Peninsular Malaysia, it is likely that there are other species that have been caught but not identified yet, especially in rural areas. ISMAT will continue to conduct this study in Malaysia to obtain more information on freshwater stingray species especially in remote areas. This study is vital to update the information on the biodiversity of freshwater stingrays in the country and further improve on the sustainable management of the resources. 

Please visit our FRI Newsletter Vol.24 ,2021 for further info.


Photo 1a: The dorsal view of Fluvitrygon kittipongi          Photo 2a: The dorsal view of Fluvitrygon signifer            Photo 1b: The ventral view of Fluvitrygon kittipongi


Photo 2b: The ventral view of Fluvitrygon signifer            Photo 3: X-ray image of Fluvitrygon kittipongi specimen       Photo 4a: Upper row of teeth

Photo 4b: Lower row of teeth


Growth of Nannochloropsis sp. Under Different Light Paths Using Light Emitting Diodes (LED) as Source of Light


December 2021 -  A study was carried out on flat panel photobioreators  to determine suitable light path for culturing Nannochloropsis at maximum density under illumination of light emitting diodes LED light source. The result showed that the photobioreators with shorter light path produced higher cell density. The shorter light path enables light to travels further into the culture as compared to the longer light path.  In addition this study also shows that LEDs is suitable and practical for  culture of Nannochloropsis in a photobioreactor

Full paper MFJ 



Effect of SirehMAX on the Immunity and Growth of Tilapia


01 November 2021 - This study was done to see the effect of herbal extract (SirehMAX) on the growth and immunity of tilapia in the lab. A total of 120 fish was divided into four groups with three replicates. Two feeding regimes were applied i.e, ad libitum and 3% fish body weight (3%BW). Each regime was fed either with commercial pellet or pellet coated with 1 ppm SirehMAX three times per week. The study was carried out for eight weeks, and the growth was measured fortnightly. After eight weeks, blood sample were acquired for immunology. The fish was observed for two weeks for any clinical and behavioral changes. At the end of the experiment, the fish was sampled for bacteria and immunology. The fish was observed for two weeks for any clinical and behavioral changes. At the end of the experiment, the fish was sampled for bacteria and immunology. The results showed that fish from SirehMAX group was free from bacteria, while the commercial feed group shows presence of Plesiomonas shigelloides in the final sampling. The fish fed with SirehMAX showed significant growth at the first four weeks, but insignificant thereafter, until the end of the experiment.


Application of Cinnamon essential oil In Overcoming Pasitic (Lernaea sp.) Infestation in Arowana Broodstock


01 June 2021 - This study was conducted on two species of Arowana, namely Highback Golden (HBG) and Malaysian Gold (MG) in Perak that suffered from the parasitic infection of Lernaea sp. and low larval survival rate (10-20%). The objective of this study was to increase the survival rate of juvenile arowana fish through application of commercial essential cinnamon oil (EOCIN) in broodstock pellets for 14 days. The first trial showed significant increase in survival rate from 10% to 60% in fish fed with EOCIN. A similar result was observed in the second trial for HBG; the production of larvae was increased from 33.3% (without EOCIN) to 66.7% (with EOCIN). The survival rate of larvae from broodstock fed with EOCIN was 94.2% for HBG and 92.3% for MG.


Survival and Growth of False Clownfish, Amphirion ocellaris for Mass Production


01 March 2021 - Marine ornamental fish trade is high in value and demand. About 10% of marine ornamental fishes is produced under captivity while others are wild. This study was conducted to develop techniques for breeding in the mass production. Live specimens were collected from Pulau Langkawi, Kedah. The fishes were then acclimatized and their behavior was closely observed to remove aggressive fishes and to study pair formation. Fishes were fed 3 times daily. Excess feed and debris were siphoned daily and water exchange(70%) carried out weekly. The pair fishes, then transferred to broodstock tank (24" x 16" x 16") with an earthen pot as a substrate for egg deposition. One day before hatching, eggs were transferred to rearing tanks (16" x 10" x 10"). The average egg incubation period is seven days with eggs dimension about 1 x 2.34 mm. On Day 0 of hatching, larvae were fed with rotifers till Day 21. Newly hatched Artemia were given from Day 7 till Day 28. Green water was also given from day 0 till day 28. Small pellet was introduced on Day 30. About 70% mortality rates were observed from Day 0 till Day 7. The larvae pass their critical stage after day 15. It was found that during the larval period from day 0 to day 9 of post hatch, water temperature plays a critical role in the survival rates of the larvae.



Heavy Metal Assessment in Water from Cockle Culture Areas, Kuala Selangor


January 2021 - The aim of the study is to assess the concerntration of selected heavy metals in waters
from cockle culture areas in Kuala Selangor, Malaysia. For this study eight(8) elements were selected"
due to their significant contribution to water pollution in Malaysia waters which are cadmium (Cd), 
chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), total arsenic (As), selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn).

Seawater samples were collected from two main cockle culture areas in Selangor which are Kebun 
Kerang Kuala Selangor (KKKS), and Kebun Kerang Sabak Bernam (KKSB) from April to November 
2015.  In this study, Inductive Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) was used to measure 
the concerntration of Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Hg, As, Se and Zn respectively.

The results showed in general, selected heavy metals concerntration were lower than Interim Malaysia
Marine Water Quality Standards and Criteria (IMQWS) set by the Department of Environmental Malaysia.

Please visit our Malaysian Fisheries Journal Vol.19, 2020 for full paper.


June 2020 - Aquarium Tunku Abdul Rahman(AkuaTAR) and DOF# Tuna Gallery is now temporarily closed due to Covid-19 pendamic until further notification.

Department of Fisheries Malaysia
Level 1-6, Block Menara 4G2,
Presint 4, 62628 Putrajaya

Tel : 03 - 8870 4200
Fax : 03 - 8889 5490
E-Mail : hqhelp[at]dof[dot]gov[dot]my
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