SITIAWAN, June 10 (Sin Chew Daily) -- A dragon tiger grouper dish used to be a signature dish served during wedding dinners, but now old folks homes and orphanages get to savor the expensive dish thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The owners of fishpond rearing dragon tiger groupers have decided to start a charity project after incurring huge losses since last year.
Through words of mouth among friends, Liao Chen Li and Chen Zhong Wu from Changkat Kruing started the project – for donation of RM10, one kilogram of dragon tiger grouper would be delivered to old folks homes, orphanages and charitable organizations.
Those living in these homes get to have a chance to savor the fish.
Liao said 1kg of dragon tiger grouper used to be sold between RM50 and RM60 in wholesale market, mainly to restaurants. Some are exported to China and Hong Kong.
"The RM10 donation is used to cover costs of hiring workers to catch the fish, pack and delivery it to various centers.
"Despite delivering the fish to charitable organizations, we will check the number of residents in the homes before delivery to ensure the amount of fish is sufficient," said Liao.
Chen said he had several fish ponds rearing more than 20 tonnes of dragon tiger grouper.
He suffered huge losses since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year.
"The dragon tiger grouper fish is usually sold when the weight is between 1kg and 1.2kg. Due to the pandemic, there is no demand for the fish.
"No one has expected the pandemic to have dragged this long. We incur losses rearing the fish but we still need to settle the fish and we hope not to waste the resources.
"By donating the fish to charitable organizations, we also encourage more people to get involved in charity," he said.
Chen said the charity project went on twice in Ipoh and Manjung.
He welcomes inquiries from other states.
After learning about the project, Persatuan Prihatin dan Kebaktian Masyarakat Manjong chairman Hew Sin Yong contacted friends to donate.
"A friend in Ipoh helped me deliver the fish to old folks homes and orphanages in Ipoh," said Hew, who drew up a list of charitable organizations to receive the fish.