AN official estimate of the national fishing quota is set at 100,000 tonnes according to a survey of fish resources in Myanmar water territory, said an official from the Department of Fisheries.
The fisheries department will continue to conduct research projects in order to estimate the acceptable level of commercial fishing that can be allowed without causing animal endangerment or extinction. The department will further explore Myanmar aquaculture with the assistance of a research vessel offered by the Institute of Marine Research, Norway.
“Calculating the estimated volume of fishing is based on surveys conducted in 2013 and 2015. Out of the current fish population of 560,000 tonnes, a hundred thousand tonnes has been prescribed as the estimated fishing quota by local and foreign experts including experts from FAO, said U Win Kyaing, the secretary.
Surveys have been conducted in 1979, 1980, 2013 and 2015. The volume of fish floating above water dropped from 1 million tonnes to 110,000 tonnes according to the 1979-1980 and 2013 surveys, with a decline of 90 per cent while the volume at the seabed dropped from from 750,000 tonnes to 280,000 tonnes, with a decrease of 75 per cent.
There might be a gap between the monsoon and post rainy season numbers because of possible changes in aquatic species and the ecosystem. For this reason, the survey was conducted again in 2015 and similar surveys will continue to be conducted.
The decline in Myanmar fish resources has resulted from the increased number of fishing enterprises and the growing number of fishing boats on the seas and rivers, increasing from 700 to 2,500-2,600, said U Myint Thu, deputy director of the Department of Fisheries. “There are fishermen who do not abide by the prescribed rules. One reason for the decline might be the net-fishing, which sometimes captures fingerlings.
Myanmar still sits at the top of the list in terms of fish numbers with the highest possession of aquatic resources among the ASEAN partners. However, there is a large gap in fish exports compared to Thailand and Viet Nam as Myanmar suffers from weak investment, manufacturing processes and technical know-how.
Myanmar aquatic resources such as sea fish, freshwater fish, prawns, crabs, eels, dried prawns and other fishery products are exported to 30 countries including China, Japan, South Korea, America and various European nations.