MUAR: Freshwater fish breeders here were urged to breed ikan kelah or the Malaysian Mahseer as the species fetches a high price.
Former Maharani assemblyman Datuk Mohd Ismail Mohd Shah said that fresh ikan kelah cost RM200 a kg as it was a tasty table fish that was difficult to catch.
Speaking to 70 freshwater fish breeders at the Muar Umno division complex, he said although the fish was difficult to breed in captivity, it was lucrative.
“I started breeding the fish and ikan kerai (wild carp) at my ponds in Kampung Parit Limbong and in four months the kelah had grown to more than 20cm.
“It is not easy to breed but breeders must be committed in providing its needs, including fast-flowing water,” he said when opening a freshwater fish seminar organised by Johor Fisheries Department recently.
Mohd Ismail, who is also Muar Umno division chief, said although the seminar was on breeding catfish, those interested should try breeding the kelah.
He said that catfish was easy to upkeep as the species was hardy and its ponds needed no oxygenation, but it fetched only RM5 a kg.
On catfish breeding, he said the Fisheries Department had launched a programme to provide a plastic tank and 200 fish fries to those interested.
He said that 70 villagers, mostly youths from the Muar, Pagoh, Ledang and Bakri parliamentary constituencies, had been selected for the programme under the Government’s green-book project.
The participants would also receive two bags of fish feed and a bottle of chemical to treat water in the tanks, he added.