The Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development has pledged to implement an appeal by local fisheries businessmen 'to not extend fishing rights contract and to cease permits for foreign fishing boats in Myanmar water'. Thura U Shwe Man, the Speaker assured that the Union Parliament will also support the appeal.
The Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development had asked for an extension of contract for foreign fishing rights. However, at a meeting between entrepreneurs and the Union Parliament Patron, on September 8, a counter request was raised and approved.
Patron Thura U Shwe Man said, “The meeting between ministry departments and businessmen has shed light on why we should no longer allow foreign fishing boats in our water. We should start implementing measures to prevent them from fishing. If it need be the Parliament is ready to back up the implementation. It will be better if the Ministry could settle this.”
“Now, we have made a decision on the issue and we will submit reports to continue carrying out what should be done”, U Khin Maung Aye, Vice Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development responded to the businessmen.
In 2004, Myanmar allowed foreign fishing boats to fish in Myanmar water with an official contract. The contract will expire in March 2014 and the Thai Ministry of Fisheries has requested for an extension.
U Khin Maung Aye also pointed out that it is important to keep in mind that non-extension of foreign fishing contracts will result in a loss of USD 12 million per annum in revenue. An alternate plan to continue earning the same revenue should be chalked out.
It is explained that the logic behind the request for non-extension of fishing contract is the fact that foreign fishing businesses do not contribute to export taxes in Myanmar, as it is impossible to get actual figures of fish caught. Moreover, it could lead to limited fish supply for local fishermen and consequently, unavailability of fish for local consumption and inability to meet demands of local frozen seafood plants.
“In order to take advantage, of the official fishing contract, the foreign fishmen have cloned boats with the same name, colour and registration number and fish in our waters. We should not extend the contract, as there are records of over a hundred criminal activities”, said U Aung Than Oo, Co-secretary of the Myanmar Marine Fisheries Association at the meeting.