Fishery Dept relaxes restriction on offshore fishing

Fishery Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation has allowed 20 per cent of the total offshore fishing vessels to fish in Myanmar’s seas at the request of offshore fishing entrepreneurs, according to its statement on April 20.

On February 28, the department designated a no-fishing period for offshore fishing vessels from May 16 to August 15 in order to conserve fish resources in Myanmar’s seas.

The statement says that despite no-fishing season and no-fishing area on Myanmar Sea, the department has allowed 20 per cent of the total offshore fishing vessels as there is no sufficient spaces for all fishing vessels. It also aims to avoid unemployment of fishing industry workers, shutdown of factories, a shortage of fishes for consumption and prevent illegal fishing by foreign fishing vessels.

Tun Win Myint, head of Yangon Region Fishery Department said: “In fact, the department has placed a total ban on offshore fishing vessel but has relaxed its restrictions after the scrutiny of reports presented by entrepreneurs. As a matter of fact, there should be a complete ban. They (entrepreneurs) have asked for 30 per cent. Next year, the department would totally ban the offshore fishing vessels.”

Kyaw Naing, secretary of Myanmar Offshore Fishing Vessel Entrepreneurs Association said: “Thanks to it, fishing workers will not lose their jobs. They face many difficulties from a complete ban.”

Since 2013, the department has designated no-fishing zone and area in a bid to conserve fish resources in Myanmar’s seas. In 2014, the department banned 65 per cent of fishing vessels and fixed the no-fishing period for 60 days, 50 per cent and 90 days in 2015, 40 per cent and 90 days in 2016 and 30 per cent and 90 days in 2017, according to Myanmar Fishery Department.