The Japanese market accounts for one third of Myanmar’s prawn exports, according to the Fisheries Department.
Some 13,000 metric tons of prawns have been shipped to foreign countries, of which more than 4,000 tons of prawns are sent to the Japanese market.
Prawn exports to Japan were registered at over 5,160 tons, worth US$31.9 million in the fiscal year (FY) 2012-2013; over 5,260 tons with an estimated value of $21million in FY 2013-2014; more than 4,770 tons with a value of $15.6 million in FY 2014-2015; 3,870 tons valued at $13.6 million in FY 2015-2016; and 4,390 tons fetching nearly $19 million in FY 2016-2017.
Local saltwater and freshwater prawn farming businesses are facing difficulties, caused by natural disasters, financial hardships of breeders and scarcity of prawn resources in lakes and rivers. Domestic businesses cannot achieve much output through the hatching process due to the lack of advanced technology. As a result of this, Myanmar cannot compete against neighbouring countries in the fishery export industry.
To satisfy local consumption, shrimps and prawns are imported from Thailand, along with larvae for farming businesses.
Between 1 April and 2 February of the current FY, Myanmar’s fishery export earnings reached more than US$560 million, having harvested over 438,000 tons.