Malaysia's Perak province has been identified as an ideal region to expand the country's aquaculture industry.

Speaking in Kuching, Malaysia, Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim, deputy minister for agriculture and agro-based industries, announced that the west Malaysian state, which contains the country's second largest lake, Tasik Temenggor, would be the base for one of four projects aimed at increasing farmed fish production.

This follows last month's statement from Malaysia's fisheries ministry that it was looking to increase farmed fish production significantly by 2013.

The target announced by Karim was approximately 500,000 metric tons of farmed seafood by 2010. Of that, Perak would account for more than 137,000 metric tons, operating in an Aquaculture Industrial Zone (AIZ) covering some 2,556 hectares.

Perak is well suited to raise tilapia, especially in Tasik Temenggor, which could contribute 40,000 metric tons of the fish by 2013.

The Perak provincial government has signed a memorandum of understanding with a Malaysian-Norwegian joint venture company, Trapia Malaysia Sdn Bhd., to meet the target. The Scandinavian outfit has conducted extensive research in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and China. It is also researching the potential of other Malaysian provinces, including Kedah, Pehang, Terengganu and Johor.

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