KOTA KINABALU, Feb 21 — Sabah Fish Marketing Sdn Bhd (Safma), a company owned by the Sabah state government, is urged to take steps to seize various opportunities in the Blue Economy in tandem with the state government’s policy to explore the sector to boost the state’s economy.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said to realise this aspiration, Safma needs to amplify its focus on the Blue Economy, especially in the field of catching ocean fish in the C2 and C3 categories, in addition to implementing various joint ventures with potential investors.

“Cooperation and joint ventures with foreign investors through foreign direct investment (FDI) are highly necessary, not only in terms of financing but also cooperation in terms of technology in the use of vessels and fishing methods,” he said.

He said this in a statement today in conjunction with his visit to the Safma Fisheries Complex here yesterday, which was also attended by Kota Kinabalu City Hall Mayor Datuk Seri Sabin Samitah and Safma chairman Mohammad Mohamarin.

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Jeffrey, who is also Sabah’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry Minister, said the state government’s efforts to empower the Blue Economy, specifically fisheries, are closely related to the government’s focus on maintaining food security.

“The success of the Blue Economy is expected to further enrich fish resources while boosting processing activities, the production of downstream products, and expanding the marketing area,” he said.

He said the Blue Economy promises tremendous potential in various fields including fisheries and aquaculture, shipping and transport logistics, tourism, renewable energy, and marine infrastructure.

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However, Jeffrey said that despite reaching 42 years since its establishment on Feb 5, 1982, the conditions and facilities of the Safma Fisheries Complex have not changed much.

He said with the age of Safma Kota Kinabalu’s fish landing jetty exceeding 40 years, the physical capacity and existing facilities have declined and are approaching the end of their life cycle.

The Sabah fish landing data in 2022 showed that Kota Kinabalu received the largest landing of over 70,000 tonnes, followed by Semporna with over 30,000 tonnes, and Tawau with over 29,000 tonnes, while 80 per cent of Kota Kinabalu’s fish landing was done at the jetty.

“Several initiatives should be implemented in the next few years by any means. To succeed in this deep sea fishing effort, the facilities that support this venture should be developed, among them, a port or an integrated fish landing complex,” he said.

Jeffrey said in the Sabah Maju Jaya initiative for Safma, the government implemented projects to upgrade existing facilities such as ice plants, processing areas and cold rooms. However, the project to add a new landing jetty and the procurement of a fishing vessel was delayed due to financial constraints. — Bernama