AVA rolls out new plan to boost Singapore's sustainable food fish production

A box of fresh fish is unloaded during the official opening of Lorong Halus Jetty at 50 Pasir Ris Coast Industrial Park 6 on 24 July 2014. To boost Singapore's sustainable food fish production, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is com
A box of fresh fish is unloaded during the official opening of Lorong Halus Jetty at 50 Pasir Ris Coast Industrial Park 6 on 24 July 2014. To boost Singapore's sustainable food fish production, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is coming up with good-agricultural-practice guidelines for fish farms. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - To boost Singapore's sustainable food fish production, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is coming up with good-aquaculture-practice guidelines for fish farms.

It is also offering $1.25 million for companies to work with the agency on developing closed containment aquaculture systems.

Minister of State for National Development Maliki Osman announced these moves on Thursday at the opening of a new Lorong Halus jetty for Singapore fish farmers whose farms are in the eastern Johor Straits.

Closed containment systems are those that shield the fish from the external environment - using canvas bags and filtering and recirculating seawater, for example.

"Such a system in a coastal environment can, among others, help our fish farms mitigate against adverse environmental conditions," Dr Maliki said, adding the agency would ask for proposals by the end of August.

The AVA has also installed continuous online water quality monitoring systems at some fish farms, and calls and text-messages fish farmers in case of poor water conditions, he said.

The initiatives come after a spate of fish die-offs in January and February this year, in which 39 coastal farms lost 160 tonnes of fish stocks due to plankton blooms brought on by high temperatures and low tides.

The new Lorong Halus jetty is another step to help local fish farmers, whose 4,200 tonnes of fish produced each year make up about 8 per cent of fish consumed here.

The $3.85 million jetty offers a higher mooring capacity and is safer than the previous Changi Creek site, where farmers had to climb a ladder to load and unload heavy boxes. It is also dedicated for fish farm use so farmers do not have to jostle with other boats.

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