Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 12/2012

Fisheries in Malaysia: Can resources match demand?

Evelyn Teh

June 2012

Maritime Institute of Malaysia


Fisheries have been a long practiced means of food acquisition by mankind. It has maintained its importance as the top natural protein provider in the diet of many nations in the world, with 75% of the global fish production meant for direct human consumption. The highest fish consuming nations are from developing countries. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Malaysia is one of the top fish-consuming countries in Asia (above 40kg/capita/year), almost double the average in Thailand and China, although it is still below the levels in Japan and South Korea. Figure 1 for instance shows that the trend in fish consumption among Malaysians is increasing, which is mainly based on Malaysian population data from the national consensus and data on national fish consumption. This essentially means that in 2010 an average Malaysian consumed more fish (54kg/year) compared to 20kg in 1970; a dramatic increase in demand for fish over four decades that is compounded by rapid population growth.