Arrears of fish breeders defaulting on license fees have piled up to more than K150 million, according to the Yangon Region Fisheries Department. Of the total arrears, breeders in Twantay Town account for over K100 million. The Fisheries Department has announced that it will take legal action against those who fail to pay the license fees.
“Some of the fish breeders are holding a licence. But they have not been paying the monthly fee to our department. So we don’t know if they are still breeding fish or not. We come to know this only when we inspect their ponds,” said U Hla Htay, the Deputy Director of the Yangon Region Fisheries Department. He made the remarks during a regular meeting with entrepreneurs, which was held on 12 March at the Myanmar Fisheries Federation, Yangon.
The Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation said the ministry will grant permits to fish breeders who have been operating their farms without a licence after they pay a fine of K30,000. However, it will not renew permits of fish farmers who have not been paying their license fee, he said.
“The Fisheries Department levies a license fee of just K3,000 per acre a year on fish farms. Breeders who wish to pay their arrears can contact the Township Fisheries Department,” he said.
“Currently, we are collecting K10-50 million per year as fish farming licence fees. The licences of breeders can be revoked if they fail to pay the fees for several years. We have already sent notices to breeders who have failed to pay the licence fees,” he added.
The Fisheries Department will have to check whether entrepreneurs are in the red, that is, whether they have any arrears, when they come to pay the fine for illegal fish farming, which has been set at K30,000, said U Win Kyaing, the General Secretary of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation. There are more than 80,000 acres of fish and prawn breeding farms in Yangon Region, but permits have been granted for only around 40,000 acres.
By Aye Yamone
(Translated by Hay Mar)