AQUA breeding specialist E-Arowana Trading Sdn Bhd is looking to export its ornamental Arowana fish within five years.
The Kedah-based company, with breeding farms in Kulim and Bukit Merah in Perak, is keen to tap markets like China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan, where demand for the Arowana fish is high.
"We are also looking to tap markets in Europe and Canada, especially in cities with high Chinese population," said E-Arowana managing director Suhar Munawar Md Shariff during a media familiarisation tour organised by the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA).
The company, which was set up more than a decade ago, is involved in the hatching and farming of three main Arowana fish varieties, namely Malaysian Golden Arowana, Red Arowana and Red Tail Golden Arowana.
"The Arowana fish commands a premium value compared to other ornamental fish," Suhar Munawar said.
The ornamental fish sub-sector has been recording high growth figures in the country's agriculture sector, usually in excess of 15 per cent, he added.
The global market, which is estimated at RM46.5 billion, is expected to grow between 10 and 15 per cent annually, while Asian countries are estimated to command more than half of the total global production.
Suhar Munawar said typical investments for the infrastructure of an Arowana farm stands at between RM100,000 and RM200,000 per 0.4ha.
Each farm, he noted, will have the capacity to produce between 100,000 and 150,000 fish a year.
His customers are mostly ornamental fish traders and exporters in Kuala Lumpur and Johor.
"If we are to expand our operations in the future, it would most likely be in Bukit Merah, due to not only its proximity to the Kuala Lumpur and Penang international airports, but also because Bukit Merah offers a natural habitat for the Arowana fish," he added.
Meanwhile, NCIA chief executive Datuk Redza Rafiq said the social impact generated by projects such as ornamental fish breeding includes the development of disused and unproductive land, job creation and introduction of high green technology into the aquaculture development industry.
"The NCIA is keen to promote human capital development in creating aquarists with knowledge in Good Agricultural Practices.
"It will also make sure they can stand on their own to develop and succeed in the aquaculture industry," he added.