By Hazelen Liana Kamarudin
KOTA BAHARU, Sept 4 (Bernama) -- If you are among those who love freshwater fish dishes, then a catfish cooking may be one of the favourites in your daily menu.
Now in the market, there is a type of catfish named 'Omega 3 catfish' that has higher content of the Omega 3 fatty acid as compared to the other catfish variety.
According to the operations manager of the fisheries graduates group, Nik Mohd Firdaus Nik Daud, the Omega 3 content of Omega 3 catfish is about 2.3-2.5 percent as compared to only 0.02 percent in the other catfish breeds.
"The Omega 3 catfish is different as we formulated ourselves its feed by using a special mix of fish feed, starch pellets, soya bean, fish oil and a mix of minerals, vitamins and palm oil," he told BERNAMA here recently.
Nik Mohd Firdaus said the group collaborates with the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) in conducting research to improve the quality of Omega 3 catfish.
This catfish is reared at the fish breeding centre in Bukit Belah, Machang near here.
The Omega 3 catfish has a high concentration of Omega 3 fatty acid that comes from phytoplankton.
Nik Mohd Firdaus said the Omega 3 fatty acid can also be found in walnut oil, marine plankton and high-fat content fish.
"Omega 3 fatty acid can reduce the risk of contracting cancer and heart problems. The fish oil in Omega 3 catfish reduces heart fibrillations," he said.
"Hence, this fatty acid can reduces the possibility of heart attacks by reducing the blood cholesterol content and blood clots," Nik Mohd Firdaus said.
Apart from that, the Omega 3 catfish is good for brain and child growth due to its DHA content.
"The human brain needs more than 20 gm of DHA. A low DHA level means a low serotonin level and this can cause emotional stress," said Nik Mohd Firdaus.
The Omega 3 catfish is reared in canvas ponds, a new method formulated by the group with assistance from the Kelantan Fisheries Department.
This breeding concept, which entails easy handling with low costs, is capable of providing good income for aquaculture farmers. Kelantan is the pioneer for this fish-breeding method and the Omega 3 catfish is the first aquaculture product to be produced via this technology.
Via this method, only 90 days are needed for the fish to be harvested and ready for the market.
The wholesale price of Omega 3 catfish is RM3 a kg. It retails at RM6 a kg. The Omega 3 catfish also appears in the market in the form of meat floss and fish balls.