TEMERLOH: Two years ago, Darul Ezmer Zurin was looking for ways to increase his income and the first idea that came to his mind was to breed freshwater fish.
Darul Ezmer, 31, from Kampung Bintang here, who realised that ikan Patin (Pangasius Sutchi) is the trademark for Temerloh, however, admitted that he had no idea on what procedure to follow and if he had enough money to finance the project.
“But most of the time I was wondering if the idea to start a cage fish project was a good move at all. What if the project failed? I doubted myself and that was my biggest mistake,” he said when met here, recently.
Darul Ezmer added that he was lucky to gather seven friends who were also looking for additional income and together they shared expertise and experience to start a cluster project to rear ikan patin in Sungai Pahang.
He noted that as for now, they have 40 cages and had come to a mutual agreement that all responsibilities were divided fairly and all of them must spend sufficient time every day at the cages.
Darul Ezmer said all their hard work paid off as now as they earned at least RM2,000 monthly from selling fresh ikan patin.
“We received lots of assistance from the relevant authorities, mainly from the Fisheries Department. Not only financially but also in terms of advice and items needed such as fish seeds and fish feed to start the project.
“We also received aid after our project was affected by both dry and monsoon seasons,” he said.
His friend Saiful Fadli Shaharuddin, 37, also from Kampung Bintang ,said the cluster project started in October 2016 and that the Fisheries Department also helped them during the construction of the infrastructure, especially the jetty.
“Six months after that, we harvested ikan patin for the first time. It was a very special and proud moment for us. We sold the fish around Temerloh at a retail price of RM13 while the normal price was RM17 to RM18 per kilogram,” he said.
Saiful Fadli noted that people had asked them to market ikan patin outside Temerloh but due to limited stock, they were unable to fill the demand until today.
“Temerloh is a well-known destination for gulai tempoyak ikan patin. Every weekend we can see food lovers, big bikes enthusiasts and car club members around the town just to taste this local delicacy and some even buy fresh fish to take home,” he added.
An odd job worker, Mohd Amri Mukhtar, 37, from Kampung Gunung Senyum here said he was grateful to receive aid from the Fisheries Department to start over after he lost 15,000 ikan patin due to floods, last year.
He admitted that he almost give up upon seeing most of his cages were drifting and was wondering if he would be able to re-start the project, as most of his savings were spent when starting the project.
“It was my first experience with such a situation. Before this, I only heard about it from other friends. It was heart breaking to see all my sweat and tears for three years gone in such short period of time.
“I was hugely relieved when they told me that my name was shortlisted as an aid recipient,” he said.
Mohd Amri added that he spent three months to repair the cages and everything was back on track by May and the first harvest was expected in November. — Bernama