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April 19, 2019

Offshore, inshore fishing vessels to be banned during closed season

Workers carry fish from inshore boats in Kyeintali, Gwa Township. File Photo: WCS Marine

The authorities will ban offshore and inshore fishing vessels in the coming closed season, but traditional inshore fishing will be permitted
as usual, said U Hla Htay,
the Deputy Director of Yangon Region’s Fisheries Department.
Fishing will be banned for 60 or 90 days in the fishing areas during the closed season. Entrepreneurs had suggested designating zero per cent fishing boats during the closed season at the livestock and fishery sector entrepreneurs’ regular meeting, which was held at the Myanmar Fisheries Federation on 9 April.
“Previously, the department had banned fishing vessels for three months from June to August, with zero per cent fishing boats. But this time, they are not sure as to when they need to shut down or for how many months they need to shut down. Then, they will also ban inshore fishing boats. But, for the moment, they plan to permit traditional inshore fishing,” said U Hla Htay.
“Traditional inshore fishing supports daily livelihoods. However, those engaged in illegal fishing will have legal action taken against them. The department has already submitted the matter to the Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation and asked him to impose a fishing ban of 60 or 90 days in the no-fishing season and in fishing areas,” he said.
“The Yangon, Ayeyawady, and Taninthayi regions, Mon and Rakhine states have agreed to ban fishing during the closed season. But, they have requested the duration of the ban be reduced to 60 days instead of 90 days. They have requested the ban be imposed for 45 days in Rakhine State and Ayeyawady Region, 60 days in Mon State and Taninthayi Region, and 50 flexible days in Yangon Region,” according to the Myanmar Sea Fishing Entrepreneurs Association.
“They have already submitted request letters to the Minister. I understand that nobody has told the minister the details. This is very important for us. But I heard that the ministry will make its decision in June. We don’t have any plan. So, we can do nothing to help fishermen to earn an income during the no-fishing season,” said Daw Toe Nandar Tin, the vice chairperson of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation.
Since 2013, the Fisheries Department, under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, has been declaring an annual ‘no-fishing season’ of three months, with a suitable percentage of vessels allowed to continue fishing.
Last year, the Fisheries Department designated the period between 16 May and 15 August as the closed season. Earlier, fishing was totally restricted during the closed season. However, the Fisheries Department has relaxed this rule, allowing 20 per cent of fishing vessels to operate during the season.
There are many offshore and inshore fishing enterprises in Yangon and Taninthayi regions and Mon State. Currently, there are over 3,000 offshore fishing vessels in Myanmar.

By Aye Yamone Oo(Translated by Hay Mar)

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