LANGKAWI – The systematic ‘gamat’ (sea cucumber) harvesting project in Langkawi can help the farmers reap an income of up to RM300,000 in a season, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
He also said that the project, which was started in Teluk Yu here over a year ago, could prevent the extinction of this marine life which was in high demand for making gamat products.
“The project can also become another agro-tourism product because tourists can learn what gamat is, how it is bred, how it is harvested and so on,” he told reporters after a working visit here.
Deputy minister Nogeh Gumbek and ministry secretary-general Datuk Mohd Arif Ab Rahman were also present.
Ahmad Shabery said the experience of seaweed farming in the waters off Semporna, Sabah, could be utilised to ensure the success of the gamat project, the only one of its kind in the country.
He said current statistics indicated a drop in the gamat population over recent years and there was a need for more systematic breeding efforts.
Saying that gamat was synonymous with Langkawi, he said the statistics portrayed a huge risk that could drive the species to extinction.
“Existing legislation (to control the harvest of gamat) is adequate. However, it may not be enough if we do not have programmes for the orderly development of the industry,” he said. – BERNAMA