The Malaysia Aquafarm Certification Scheme is a voluntary scheme managed by the Department of Fisheries Malaysia for aquafarmers to promote good farming practices, i.e., more responsible and environmental friendly practices at the farm level to ensure product quality and safety, consistency in production and remain competitive in the global market. Important elements incorporated into the scheme are ISO 9002, SSOP (Standard Sanitary and Operating Procedures), Product Standards and Specifications, compliance with the Aquaculture’s Code of Practice (COP) and Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqp) and other terms and conditions as determined by the Department of Fisheries Malaysia. In Sabah, this scheme is implemented by the Department of Fisheries, Sabah in close cooperation with the Department of Fisheries Malaysia.

The farm categories in the Scheme are

  • Marine Shrimp in brackish water ponds
  • Freshwater fish in cages/pens
  • Marine Finfish in cages/pens
  • Freshwater fish in ponds/tanks
  • Marine Finfish in ponds/tanks
  • Marine finfish/shrimp hatcheries
  • Freshwater fish/prawn hatcheries
  • Molluscs culture (on-bottom, rafts/racks)
  • Ornamental fish

​The objectives of the Scheme are:

  1. To improve the product safety and quality
  2. To make the industry more responsible, more eco-friendly to ensure sustainable development for the future
  3. To prevent the occurrence of fish diseases and pollution
  4. To encourage the Good Aquaculture Practices based on Aquaculture’s Code of Practice (COP)
  5. To enhance the marketing
  6. Preparation for the implementation of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point ) for aquaculture products “voluntarily” by the fish farmers
  7. To control the use of pesticides and dangerous chemicals.

​Advantages of the Scheme:

  1. Early step towards the implementation of Total HACCP(Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point )
  2. The industry will be more environmental friendly, developed in a more responsible manner
  3. A better image for aquaculture products, better quality, better returns
  4. Improve the management and sustainability of the system
  5. To protect the market with the implementation of world’s trade liberalization
  6. To reduce the imports, boost the export markets and increase the foreign exchange
  7. To fulfill the requirement of food security

Requirements of the Scheme – Aquafarm need to comply with the guidelines and fulfill several criteria as determined by the Department of Fisheries. Among the important criteria are – Pre-requisite requirement Farms must prepare Quality Assurance Program (QAP) Documents before submitting the application form, together with other important documents as determined by the DOF General requirement Farms are required to be in suitable size, productive, competitive and manageable, e.g. for shrimp farms, a minimum 5 ha EFA (Effective Farmed Area), OR a minimum production of 50 metric tonnes/year. For comparison, culture of tilapia in net floating cages require a minimum size of 3600m2 EFA, OR a minimum number of 100 cages (minimum dimension of 6’x 6’), OR a minimum production of 150 metric tonnes/year

Is it a manadaroty Scheme? No. However, it will become mandatory, as more and more farmers are educated, properly trained and aware of the trade requirement of the industry. Currently, only aquafarms that produce shrimp for the export markets (mainly to EU, Japan and USA) are strongly advised to obtain this certificate.