Singapore – First the eggs, now the fish. It was only about a week ago that Malaysia has informed its neighbours that a limit will be placed on the eggs being exported in order to meet internal demands. Singapore is now looking for other sources such as the Philippines to fill in the gap. Next up is the fish.
From January 1 to February 28, 2019, Malaysia will halt all exports of the following fish species: mackerel, trevally, Indian mackerel and a Chinese favourite, pomfret. The decision is being made to meet the shortage of supply usually created by the Chinese New Year which is happening on February 5 next year. In addition to this, the mentioned months are also monsoon season which negatively affects levels of supply.
It is a known fact that Singaporeans love fish. The Seafood Report of 2017 by the Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) states that the country consumes about 22 kgs of fish and seafood (scattered across 40 species) per person in a year. The rest of the world only consumes around 20kgs while an American has a 5.1kgs intake of fish and seafood per year. Although the island consumes great amounts of fish and seafood, it exports 95% of that demand from its neighbours Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. The latest World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore Seafood Guide states that the country is consuming fish from the ocean at a rate that is not equal to the rate of replenishment, which can make fish stocks collapse. Measures such as awareness about sustainable seafood through farming or responsible fishing are being promoted to the food industry.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) ensured the public that this pause on imports from Malaysia is not happening without countermeasures and that there are other alternative sources to import from.
Netizens are quick to comment on their opinions on the matter, with quite a number even connecting this move as a political response to the ongoing disputes between Malaysia and Singapore.
Others are saying that there is no need to panic because there are more fish in the sea.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Rahmat Omar took the diplomatic approach and is reminding everyone that there was once a time when it was all love and friendship between the two countries.