Irresponsible fishing methods deplete Rakhine State fish stocks

The year upon year depletion of fish populations in Rakhine State waters is attributed to a change in fishing techniques as well as climate change.

Many people living in Rakhine State make a living from fishing activities, but local fishermen blame many years of irresponsible overfishing for the depletion of fish in rivers, streams and the ocean, which is causing them problems.

“The weather’s not right, for one. Then, there’s those offshore fishing vessels that come to fish close to the shore.  Fishing with mines is causing some fish species to become extinct.  Those fish that aren’t killed swim off to other, more tranquil waters. We used to catch about K10,000 worth of fish a day in the past, but these days we only manage half of that. We have to seek employment as causal labourers in other sectors as being a fisherman by itself isn’t a financially viable option anymore,” said U Win Shwe, a fisherman from Pauktaw Township.

Some Rakhine State fishermen practice destructive fishing methods such as electric fishing, the use of fish toxins and the use of small-holed fishing nets, which by catch unwanted species of fish.

“Fish stocks are in really bad shape. The volume of fish caught in the township has completely declined, which is linked to the irresponsible fishing practices of some fishermen.   We try to take legal action, but these [destructive fishing methods] aren’t carried out when we’re in the village; they wait until after we’ve gone home. Fishermen need to cooperate [with us],” said U Kyaw Soe Lwin, head of the Department of Fisheries for Minbya Township.

In accordance with a report by the Yangon branch of the Rakhine Thaharya Association, which was conducted in a bid to highlight the extent of the problem of overfishing within the Rakhine State, there has been a distinct depletion in the last fifteen years of the species of plarduu fish and golden shrimp within Thandwe Township, with just 15 per cent of the original population remaining, while it is known that the ngapidu could also become extinct as it is being fished as a substitute to depleted numbers of golden shrimp.—


Source: Myitmakha News Agency

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