John’s snapper and stingray are hawker favourites at many of Malaysia’s eateries. They are also ravaged by overfishing. Both are identified by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as among the 90 percent of global fish stocks that have been exploited to full capacity or to the point of facing possible extinction. Left unabated, the trend points to seafood being permanently wiped off the menu by 2048. This is bad news for the country, where the oceans are a lucrative trade. Malaysia ranks as the largest consumer of marine products in Southeast Asia while the fisheries industry contributes more than RM11 billion to the economy and supports the livelihoods of over 150,000 people.
The food industry has always been, by nature, at the mercy of market forces beyond its control. Dependent on the changing tastes and preferences of the consumer, players across all sectors must be quick to pick up on emerging trends and adapt accordingly or risk falling by the wayside.