LOCALS in Myanmar’s southern Taninthayi coastal region heavily rely on the fisheries businesses, accounting for 70 per cent of the population in the coastal area. Long-term Conservation is needed for sustainable exploitation of marine resources.
Taninthayi Region shares a border with Thailand to the east and Andaman sea to the west. Taninthayi coastal region is strategically located and it is a belt of land accessible by road and sea. The region plays a pivotal role in the fishery sector. It is the main seafood supplier to Ranong, Thailand. Ranong and Mahachai markets are the fishery hub of Thailand and are run by Myanmar migrant workers and Myanmar’s fisheries. There is no fish market in Myanmar despite being a fishery supplier to Thailand. The fishery hub emerged in Thailand decades ago.
The Fish Auction Market in Myeik, Taninthayi Region, was opened more than 20 years ago, with a view to creating a major fish market in Myanmar. Lack of government contributions hinders the Fish Market, rendering loss of marine resources, revenue loss from tax avoidance and unemployment.
“Fish Auction Market exists in Myanmar. Thousands of fishing trawlers and vessels are seen in Taninthayi Region. I would like to request the authorities concerned to help the fish market resume in order to generate revenue and create job opportunities for locals. Thailand’s fisheries markets are heavily relying on Taninthayi’s fisheries resources. Although we had a fish auction market, the lack of law enforcement obstructed the market. The Fish Auction Market in Myeik is not wholly-owned by the private sector. The Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation holds 30 per cent of the share, while ethnic entrepreneurs possess ten per cent of the share and a foreign enterprise grasps 60 per cent of the share. With the government’s contributions, the Fish Auction Market will become alive again,” said MD Daw Htay Htay Win of that market.
Myanmar’s fisheries exports amounted to US$700-800 million per year. Meanwhile, Thailand generates over $7 billion from fisheries exports. Over 90 per cent of fisheries products in Ranong are supplied by Myanmar’s Myeik Archipelago. Ranong market contributes 30 per cent of Thailand’s fisheries export,” said an official of Thailand’s Department of Fisheries.
Only when the government helps reconstruct the Fish Auction Market can taxation be prevented loss and the massive outflow of human resources managed.
“To implement the Fish Auction Market successfully, government’s contribution as well as scaling down a FOB system are required,” U Maung Maung Soe, chair of the Myanmar Marine Association Federation gave his opinion.
Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) gave the green light to bring in the capital of $70 million to the fish market. Ten million dollars have been put into the market but permission to pump in the capital expansion of $20 million was delayed.
“This market is aimed to eliminate the illegitimate trade including drug, arms and ammunition, fuel oil and food. This effort will eradicate tax evasion on fisheries resources and exploitation of the protected marine resources. The fish market is expected to generate a billion dollars in Taninthayi Region. Most importantly, it will create thousands of job opportunities for residents,” Daw Htay Htay Win continued.
Thousands of Myanmar migrant workers are working for fish markets in Thailand. The work delay process under the previous administration happened in 2018. So, I earnestly request the government to implement this project, Daw Htay Htay Win added.
The International Fish Auction Market located at Inlaymyaing Industrial Zone in Myeik, Taninthayi Region, is prepped for resumption with jetties, docks, auction marketplaces, office facilities, cold storage and one-stop-service office from the respective departments. If the government proceeds with this project in line with existing laws, the International Fish Auction Market with massive job employment and revenue generation will emerge in Myanmar. —Myint Oo (Myeik)/GNLM