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4.1 Marketing Strategies

There were differences in the marketing strategies adopted by the Bukit Tambun culturists and the Penang east coast culturists. Almost all of the sales of Bukit Tambun culturists were through middlemen and their main markets were Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur, though some were also sold to Penang. For the Penang east coast culturists, however, most of the sales were directed to the Penang market only. This could be attributed largely to the difference in location of the two areas. Cage culture farms in Penang east coast were located close to the shore and culturists' houses as well as near to the town centre where many restaurants could be found. This enabled the culturists to sell their fish in small quantities at lower cost and effort. On the other hand, cage culture farms in Bukit Tambun area were far from the shore, culturists homes and the town centre. It would thus be uneconomical to sell only a small quantity of fish due to high cost of transport and amount of effort taken. To save time, effort and transport cost, sales were conducted through middlemen.

There was one similarity, however, namely both areas' sales consisted mainly of live fish which fetched a higher price than the chilled capture fish. Some of the restaurants did want the fish to be cut, cleaned and sent to them less than an hour before cooking. Apparently, this type of sales was only available to the Penang east coast culturists where direct sales were practised and the quantity of the sales was not great. Futhermore, the duration of transport must not be too long, that is, the distance must not be too far because the fish are not frozen or chilled.

Regardless of whether the fish were sold live or chilled, no feeding was given by the culturists for at least one day prior to the sales. This was to ensure that there was no undigested feed in the fish which might be fouled. This would seriously affect the survival rate during transportation in the case of live fish, and the quality of the fish in the case of chilled ones.

4.2 Market Price

Table 9: Prices Of The Marketable Wet Fish And Live Fish Per kilogramme
Fish speciesLive Fish price (M$/kg)Wet Fish retail market price (M$/kg)
Bkt.Tambun (agent price)Penang east coast (retail restaurant price)PenangK.LumpurJ.Bahru
sea bass10.80–11.7013.30–14.208.00–10.0010.009.50–14.50
golden snapper9.20–10.0012.50–13.305.00–6.504.60–5.105.00–6.00

From Table 9, it is clearly shown that sales of the Penang east coast cultured fish fetched a much better price than that of the Bukit Tambun. In other words, direct sale fetched better price than sales through middlemen. However, the marketing cost of the Penang east coast culturists was comparatively higher than that of the Bukit Tambun culturists owing to the fact that transportation cost was borne by the culturists and not the buyers. In addition to this, more effort and time had to be spent by them in harvesting from the farms as the frequency of sale was comparatively more per month. Also, more time had to be spent in administration of the sale as they had more customers. By this, it also meant that bad debts would be more likely to occur.

The above Table also shows that the live fish fetched a better price than the retail wet market price in three major towns in Peninsular Malaysia.

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