Illegal fishing batters small-scale fishermen in Myeik

Myeik region faces a shortage of fish resources, and local fishermen find it difficult to survive as the authority turns a blind eye to the voices of local small-scale fishermen, according to local fishermen.

Small-scale fishermen are finding it increasingly harder to practice their trade due to illegal onshore fishing by big fishing vessels, illegal fishing methods and the fixed laying of fishing nets in the sea. Local fishermen had to rely on other jobs as they are unable to survive just by fishing.

Thin Tin Maw, a villager from Payaytaung village said: “This year, small-scale fishermen are facing difficulty due to a scarcity of fish resources. We have no place to catch fishes on the sea as fishing nets are occupied in almost all areas. Many villagers face this problem.”

According to fishermen, there is a shortage of fish resources in Yaypyaeaw and Sakanthit in Myeik Archipelago. Local fishermen can do fishing only when the authority designates fishing areas for fishing vessels and orders them to remove fishing nets placed near villages.

Aung Soe Lin, an activist working for fishing workers said: “The government’s action against illegal onshore and offshore fishing is very weak. The life of onshore small-scale fishermen will return to normal soon when the government controls illegal onshore and offshore fishing in an effective manner. We have reported it to the Fishery Department and parliamentarians. But there is no any action against illegal fishing. The government needs to conserve fish resources by enacting an onshore law. In addition, the government should extend a helping hand to onshore small-scale fishermen. For instance, small-scale fishermen can survive if the government grants low-interest loans to them. Villagers want the government to carry out the marine territorial water conservation from Payee Island to Done Island. Thanks to it, there will be ample fish resources.”

Source: Eleven Myanmar

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