The Myanmar Fishery Federation is a non-profit organization with a mandate to encourage, support and promote the development of the fishing sector in Myanmar. Established in 1998, the Federation advocates its members at the local, provincial and national levels, promoting fishing exports and foreign investments. U Han Tun, Executive Vice President, discusses current situation and activities that have to be carried out in order to develop the fishing industry of Myanmar.

European Times: What is MFFs role in Myanmar’s fishing industry?

U Han Tun, Executive Vice President of Myanmar Fishery Federation
U Han Tun, Executive Vice President of Myanmar Fishery Federation

U Han Tun: MFF aims to improve the socioeconomic conditions and livelihoods of its members and the broader fisheries community, to enhance facilities in fishery enterprises, and provide information on relevant policies and technologies.

The organization is managed and operated by representatives of the private sector and most of the association’s board members are senior industry insiders who work for the MFF on voluntarily base. At the moment ten types of fisheries enterprises are operating as related associations such as Myanmar Fish Farmers Association and Myanmar Shrimp Association.

European Times: What are the current challenges that Myanmar’s fishing and aquaculture industry is facing?

U Han Tun: Myanmar’s fishery data shows significant decline in the fishery stocks due to the over-fishing and illegal fishing with prohibited fishing gears. The subsector is also highly vulnerable to waste water, mining industries, climate changes, and habitat deterioration. There is also steady declining status of fishery export trade, from US$650 million in 2011 to US$480 million in 2015, due to the raw supply declining caused from the financial crisis dating few years back. The current farmed species are fresh water fishes which generally take longer cultured period with low production rate, low price, limited markets and inconsistent demand.

Overall, some of the major constraints in Myanmar aquaculture industry are lack of investments, appropriate and advanced technology, localized aquaculture zones equipped with well-organized infrastructure and comprehensive HR development.

European Times: What are some of the activities that have to be undertaken, to solve these challenges?

U Han Tun: As Myanmar inland and marine capture fisheries have been operated within limitations of its sustainability, aquaculture should be expanded to provide fish for domestic consumption and exports. In order to surpass all these constraints and to meet new challenges, Myanmar’s governmental institutions have to convert conventional farming practices with advanced methods, provide establishment of pellet feed factories to manufacture efficient aqua feeds, modernize hatcheries to produce sufficient aquaculture seeds, promote Mariculture Industry and provide expansion of culture of highly demanded species in global fishery markets.

In this context, investment, financial aid, technical assistance from international institutions and organizations are crucial and essential massive drive to generate Myanmar fisheries momentum in near future.