Myanmar Prawn Exports Could Reach $1bn a Year With Help of New Strains


Exports from Myan­mar’s ailing prawn industry could be worth $1 billion per year by 2022 if it adopts a dis­ease resistant strain of the crustacean from Hawaii in the United States, ac­cording to industry lead­ers.

U Kyaw Tun Myint, chairman of the Myan­mar Shrimp Association, said at an industry meet­ing last month that My­anmar could reduce its trade deficit by 25 percent if it reached its targets for prawn production.

Marine Genetic LLC, a marine laboratory based in the United States, is planning to trial breed specific-pathogen-free (SPF) prawns in My­anmar with the aim of distributing to the local market, the February 22 meeting heard.

Myanmar predomi­nantly farms black tiger prawns at its inland farms but the industry is strug­gling with the high costs of importing shrimp lar­vae from Thailand and disease that has spread through the country’s prawn stocks.

Marine Genetic LLC has set up the Best Burma company to launch the trial breeding of five mil­lion SPF prawns in Rakh­ine State and Ayeyarwad­dy Region.

It will also share bios security systems, farming management techniques and aeration techniques with local breeders, said Dr Jim Wyban, a prawn genealogist and breeder at Marine Genetic LLC.

SPF prawns grow in both fresh and salt wa­ter, have higher survival rates and can grow up to 20 grams in their first 100 days. They can also tolerate a higher popu­lation density, up to 1.5 kilograms of prawns per square metre, which is beneficial for smaller-scale local breeders.

Prawns make up 86 per­cent of the global fishery market, said Wyban, add­ing that to capitalise on this Myanmar breeders must raise the productiv­ity of their prawn busi­nesses.

U Hnin Oo, vice-chair­man of Myanmar Fish Fed­eration (MFF), said Myan­amr’s reliance on Thailand for larvae was also hinder­ing the industry.

“We urgently need to develop prawn larvae breeding capabilities,” he said.

The MFF has urged the government to include the prawn industry in its export strategy, he added.

Myanmar prawn ex­ports reached $400 mil­lion in 2016, while region­al neighbours Thailand and Vietnam earned a combined total of $6 bil­lion from shrimp exports in the same year.


Source: Myanmar Business Today

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