Sunday January 16, 2005

Malaysian government to buy unsold fish
amid post-tsunami scare: reports

Fish for sale in Kuala Lumpur

KUALA LUMPUR : The Malaysian government will buy thousands of dollars worth of unsold fish to help tsunami-hit fishermen whose incomes have been severely affected by the disaster, local media said Sunday.
The price of fish has dropped drastically amid fears that fish have been tainted by feeding on corpses after the December 26 tsunami disaster killed tens of thousands of people around the Indian Ocean, the New Straits Times said.
"This is an interim measure until the situation improves," Deputy Agriculture Minister Shariff Omar was quoted as saying.
"We are very concerned about the plight of our fishermen. We also want to reassure the people that the fish is safe for consumption," he said.
Under the plan, the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia would buy some 600,000 ringgit (158,000 dollars) worth of unsold fish and store it until demand picked up, Shariff was quoted as saying by the Bernama news agency.
Scare stories about tainted fish have hurt fishermen in Malaysia's tsunami-hit areas on Penang island and the northwestern coast, where some 68 people died in the disaster.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said Friday there was no evidence to suggest that fish stocks in areas affected by the Asian tsunami had been contaminated, or that fish and seafood-borne illnesses had increased.

Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"