Its Science and Technology Faculty Dean, Prof Dr Sahrin Ahmad said the facility would be used as an aquaculture research station, especially for seaweed and gamat (sea cucumber). He said it is aimed at enhancing the quality and quantity of seaweed production as well as to diversify its downstream products and thus inevitably to enhance the operators' income.
"The UKM is willing to share its manpower, training and expertise," he said. Kunak District Officer, Susilo Sumarto said there are 20 participants comprising poor household heads in seaweed farming under the Mesej programme in Kampung Pangi. Another 10 participants are involved in the gamat or balat farming while another 40 participants in grouper cage farming.
Prior to the Mesej programme, he said several villagers have already ventured into the seaweed farming in 2006.
To this, he said the setting up of the research station by the UKM is really welcomed.
However, he said the UKM must adhere to the regulations before it set up its research facility such as maintaining Coastal Reserve and to avoid encroaching into the maritime parks.
"The seaweed and sea cucumber industry has high potential in Kunak because of the weather and water depth suitability," he said.
It was learnt that the sea cucumber here is not only sold in local market but also shipped to Langkawi.
Sea cucumber farmer, Nurdin Lakunnu, 59, said gamat reaches maturity between eight and 12 months.
Most people in the locality consume sea cucumber either raw or in soup," he said.
It is learnt that gamat has anti-fungal properties to cure skin diseases.