UTM invents new way to clean cockles, oysters

Ahmad Fairuz Othman

PONTIAN: A new innovation to clean bivalves such as cockles and oysters developed by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) will help improve the livelihood of 600 fishermen in the Ayer Baloi subdistrict in Pontian.

The Molluscure system was developed based on studies under a UTM research university grant (RUG) initiative by Prof Dr Abdull Rahim Mohd Yusoff six years ago.

Rahim said the prototype, which cost about RM600,000 each, is able to effectively remove toxic substances from bivalve mollusc species such as cockles, mussels and oysters faster than the conventional methods.

The Molluscure system is able to remove dangerous substances from one tonne of bivalves within three hours. The conventional cleaning method applied by fishermen take up to a day or two.

The system will also enable the catch of local cockles to comply with permissible standards under the Malaysian Food Act 1985, which will make it easier for the cockles to be exported.

Ayer Baloi Economic Mobilation Organisation chairman Nordin Mohd Kanchil said the new invention will help improve the livelihood of about 600 fishermen in the area.

He said the fishermen community is aware that cockles could fetch high prices as a fisherman could earn between RM5,000 and RM6,000 a month from landing Grade A cockles.

"This new system can help make the cleaning process faster at a bigger amount and increase a fisherman's livelihood," he said.

He said an allocation from the state government is being sought to supply this new invention to at least three of the 14 fishermen jetties in Ayer Baloi subdistrict.

"Fishermen from one jetty could probably land and average of 3 tonnes of cockles per day," he said.

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin visited the Molluscure equipment site at the Ayer Baloi fishermen's jetty here today.