Kamaruddin questioned 216 small-scale freshwater
and brackish water pond fish farmers from the state of Kedah about
their assets, such as education and investment capital, fishing
strategies and household income.
Overall, higher education level
and experience, as well as higher investment and operating costs
positively correlated with higher levels of best management practices
and household income.
The highest incomes were among
brackish-water fish farmers - in part because brackish-water species
generate higher profits, but also because brackish-water farmers are
more likely to use best management practices than freshwater farmers.
Brackish water species require intensive care, so farmers use best
management practices such as pond preparation and fish health management
to help ensure high survival rate and best quality produce.
management is crucial for sustainable aquaculture and this study showed
that fish farmers need more training and financial support to implement
best practises," Kamaruddin said.
While brackish water species
generate more profit, they also require higher investment, operating
costs and technical knowledge. More brackish water farmers are financed
by banks and agencies, whereas freshwater farmers are more likely to use
personal financial resources. Freshwater fish farmers often supplement
their income with other sources, such as agriculture.
aspects are better for brackish farmers, however. The study shows they
experience higher levels of stress, worry and anxiety when their
underwater farms were adversely affected. In addition, brackish water
farms had a higher impact on the environment as they used more
fertilisers and antibiotics.
Measures to boost education,
training, and financial investment should be prioritized to improve fish
farmers' livelihood, the study notes. For example, credit institutions
could provide credits or loans which cater to small-scale farmers.
Training for best aquaculture practises should also be readily
Other policies could include differentiating between
aquaculture products from farms with good management versus poor
management, or penalising farmers who do not follow best practises.