18 May 2023

Why is Singapore producing fish to export? SFA replies

I had a lot of questions when SFA announced in May 2202 plans, under "30-by-30", to further expand fish farming in our southern waters, near some of our best reefs and shores.
The richest reefs of Pulau Satumu (Raffles Lighthouse)
is one of the planned locations for new fish farms.

The plans surprised me because it seems much of the fish currently produced in the area is EXPORTED. Wouldn't it make more sense to first ensure all the fish currently produced are actually eaten by Singapore residents? Before we risk our marine biodiversity to produce MORE fish just for export? And I had more questions.

In Mar 2023, Louis Ng helped send these questions to Dr Koh Poh Koon who sent them to SFA.

In May 2023, I finally received this reply that I can post publicly.

[SFA-20230424-0055] Further clarification on Case ID SFA-20230329-0021: Why is Singapore producing fish to export? CRM:0904023

Dear Ms Tan

We refer to your email of 22 April 2023 to SFA and copied to Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, Dr Koh Poh Koon and CEO/SFA Mr Lim Kok Thai regarding your concerns on SFA’s 30-by-30 strategy and local aquaculture production.

2.        SFA’s “30-by-30” goal is intended to build up our agri-food industry’s capability and capacity to sustainably produce 30% of our nutritional needs by 2030. SFA supports the transformation of the agri-food sector into one that is highly productive, climate-resilient, and resource-efficient through various aspects such as capability upgrade, innovation, and test-bedding, as well as technological upscaling through the Agri-Cluster Transformation (ACT) fund. You may refer to our website 30 by 30 website for more information.

3.      Regarding your request for additional data on local consumption of local aquaculture produce, we wish to share that information on production levels and local consumption is available at Singapore Food Statistics 2021. We regret to inform you that we do not have the sale and export information of the local farms as these are proprietary to each company. However, in time of exigencies, the government will work with the companies to redirect their export for local consumption as evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on the key trends in Singapore’s agri-food sector, you may refer to the Singapore Food Statistics 2021, where the data is aligned to the statistical indicators of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

4.       We seek your understanding that we are unable to comment on Barramundi Asia profitability and sale strategies as these are business decisions of the company that are not under the purview of SFA. You may wish to approach Barramundi Asia directly for more information.

5.         We thank you for sharing your concerns and feedback.

Yours sincerely
Ms Celine
Service Quality Department | Communications & Service Quality Division
Contact: www.sfa.gov.sg/feedback | Website: www.sfa.gov.sg
52 Jurong Gateway Road, JEM Office Tower, #14-01, Singapore 608550

Vision: Safe Food for All Mission: To ensure and secure a supply of safe food
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