Fishermen plead for shorter no-catch period

The Myanmar Marine Fisheries Association (MMFA), an organisation representing fishermen, is again asking the Department of Fisheries to reduce the no-catch period from June 1 to August 31 set by the department.

The no-catch period specified for certain areas is aimed at helping fish stocks to recover.

The MMFA is asking that the no-catch period be shortened to two months or 45 days, said MMFA Secretary U Kyaw Naing.

“The MMFA’s president had asked that the period be shortened before, but the request was declined,” said U Kyaw Naing.

The Department of Fisheries, under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation announced on April 12 that a non-fishing period and areas closed to fishing would help maintain the country’s marine resources as the period selected is breeding seasons for fish and shrimp .

Last year, the department banned all fishing boats from going to sea during the no-catch period, but later relented to allow 20 percent of fishing boats to continue their activities after pleas from fishermen.

The Myanmar Fish Paste, Dried Fish, Fish Sauce Entrepreneurs Association also asked the department to facilitate the import of seafood as its members were also hit hard by the no-catch season.

The government first announced no-catch periods and no-catch areas in 2013 to help replenish fish stocks in Myanmar’s waters.

In 2015 the no-catch period was set at 90 days and only 50pc of fishing boats were allowed in closed areas. Over the last four years, the no-catch period has been maintained at 90 days while the percentage of fishing boats allowed to operate in closed areas has fluctuated from 50pc in 2015 to 20pc last year.

According to government statistics, there are an estimated 3000 sea-going fishing boats and 200 cold storage facilities in the country, and 70pc of all revenue from the fisheries sector comes from the sea.

The MMFA says an estimated 77,000 people in Myanmar work in the fishing industry and supporting businesses such cold storage facilities, handling and processing.

Source: Myanmar Times

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