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August 12, 2020

Sanctions handicap Myanmar fishing industry’s overseas market push

With lack of proper capital, Myanmar fisheries industry still has not yet upgraded its acquaculture facilities to properly penetrate the market though it has perferrential market access from the European Union. Photo: Aye Min Soe
With lack of proper capital, Myanmar fisheries industry still has not yet upgraded its acquaculture facilities to properly penetrate the market though it has perferrential market access from the European Union.
Photo: Aye Min Soe

Yangon, 30 March —Myanmar’s fishing industry is struggling to expand its share of overseas markets, including the European Union, due to difficulty accessing the financial support needed for vital infrastructure improvements.
“The private fishery sector has many challenges ranging from ice to fishing boats,” U Myo Nyunt, Secretary of the Myanmar Fisheries Products Processors and Exporters Association, said at a workshop on market access and rules of origin for Myanmar under GSP schemes and FTAs. “So we need to prepare to overcome the challenges.”
“For example, we need to upgrade our factories because foreign countries have questioned our fisheries’ standards, but most factories are still struggling because they have not yet received loans from banks.”
The Netherlands is assisting with online services, but its help is limited by the financial constraints stemming from the United States’ sanctions on Myanmar, he added.
The US sanctions, which have yet to be lifted, have been the biggest barrier to accessing banking services in foreign countries, U Myo Nyunt said.
Myanmar’s fisheries exporters are facing many challenges to expanding their share of the European market, currently sending 5 per cent of their products to the EU and more than 50 per cent to China.
Currently, the fisheries sector is focusing on the breeding industry as fish resources in Myanmar’s seasare declining.
According to a recent survey, Myanmar’s fish stocks have dwindled to just 10 per cent of their levels of 30 years ago. In attempting to save the country’s fish resources, the Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development Ministry will set a closed season and closed area for fishing in the 2014-2015 fishing season, according to Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development.
Meanwhile, many fish breeders who have been under debt burden since Cyclone Nargis destroyed their businesses in 2008 have yet to recover from the huge financial hit.
To overcome their difficulties, Myanmar’s fish breeders need more financial assistance, according to the Myanmar Fisheries Federation.
Developing an efficient fish breeding method and implementing a systematic approach to fishing from the sea and rivers are the two biggest challenges for the country’s fishing industry, said U Win Kyaing, Secretary of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation during a recent meeting of industry representatives in Yangon.
The Myanmar Fisheries Federation held a meeting in Yangon recently to gather information about the fisheries industry in all parts of the country as it attempts to create a strategy for the development of the sector.—GNLM

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