August 19, 2016

Unlicensed fishing boats auctioned off in Kyauk Phyu

Fishing boats are seen in Sittway.
Fishing boats are seen in Sittway.

FISHING vessels confiscated in Rakhine State’s township of Kyauk Phyu for not paying taxes for their fishing licenses will be put up for auction, in accordance with the fisheries act, resulting in unlicensed fishing vessels calling their fishing activities to a halt for fear of reprisals.
“I know the near-shore fishing vessels that will go up for auction are those which have neither extended their [fishing license] nor paid tax. This has resulted in nearly all unlicensed motorized and non-motorised fishing boats from daring to venture out to catch fish. More than such a hundred unlicensed fishing boats, that plough the waters of the Thansit river, have been confiscated. Family livelihoods are really feeling the pinch.” said U San Thein, a fisherman from Taungyin village facing a law suit for not extended his fishing license.
Three fishing vessels were confiscated in Kyauk Phyu on March 9 found to be in breach of article 33 of the fisheries act. According to the district level Department of Fisheries, the township level department pressed charges against the owners of the fishing vessels on March 14 under article 42 of the same fisheries act.
“We informed all near-shore fishing boats of the need to extend licenses and pay taxes back in December 2015. We reminded these fishing boat owners time and again to extend their licenses and pay their taxes, but it’s fallen on deaf ears. That’s what has prompted the pressing of legal charges.” said U Khin Saw, deputy head of the district level Department of Fisheries.
The three fishing vessels in question originate from the Taungyin village tract and all plough the waters of Kyauk Phyu’s Thansit river. The taking of legal action against the owners of confiscated fishing vessels is the first time such an incident has taken place during this 2015-16 fiscal year.
Local residents have made it known the confiscation of fishing vessels in this manner has resulted in demise of fish within local markets, driving up the price.
According to the district level Department of Fisheries, until the end of last year, there were 208 licensed motorized near-shore fishing vessels and 482 non-motorised vessels, while unlicensed non-motorised fishing boats numbered approximately 1,000.


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