The present paper introduces a new method for data gathering using digital tablets in the field. The method is part of a fisheries study aimed at identifying migration patterns and breeding sites of key commercial fish species in Myanmar. The research is based on systematic and structured gathering of local knowledge along a 1,000 km long segment of the Ayeyarwady River, from the southern Delta to the northern Central Dry Zone. Digital tablets are used to convert local indigenous knowledge into data.
The major features of the distribution in space and time of the demersal and pelagic marine stocks of Burma are presented and discussed. These stocks are presently abundant and subjected to little fishing pressure. Intensification of fishing is thus permissible; in the case of the pelagic stocks, new gears will have to be introduced for the resource to become fully utilized.
Hilsa is a commercially valuable fish species that many fishers rely on for their livelihoods. This project supports the larger Sustainable Management of the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) project and is designed to improve the lives of the coastal populations through improved regional management of the Bay of Bengal environment and its fisheries. The project will fill a knowledge gap about the distribution of the highly migratory Hilsa fish species. More specifically, it consists in identifying Hilsa main spawning grounds in the Ayeyarwady Delta and the extent of its migration along the Ayeyarwady River. This study will also cover 30 other freshwater species of specific interest. The project aims to contribute greater knowledge about Hilsa ecology for the improved management of critical breeding sites in Myanmar and better regional management of the Hilsa transboundary fish resources.
Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) is an valuable resource for millions of people in the Bay of Bengal, but its breeding and migratory habits remain largely unknown. Identifying the breeding sites and main inland migration routes of hilsa is important for management and the sustainability of the resource. The project fills a knowledge gap about hilsa and undertakes the identification of the main spawning grounds in the Ayeyarwady Delta and determines the extent of its migration along the Ayeyarwady River. This project aims to build a knowledge base from which a strategy to sustainably manage the hilsa resource can be developed. The project will gather local knowledge about fish migrations and breeding sites and will collaborate with local government and NGOs to research the livelihoods of hilsa-dependent fishers and undertake a value chain assessment of the species.
The fisheries sector in Myanmar is vital for national food security, income generation and export earnings. It is estimated that aquaculture and fisheries directly employ more than 3 million people and that between 12 and 15 million people benefit from the sector. Fish products are the most important sources of animal protein in the country. Fisheries development in Myanmar faces three constraints: the lack of a comprehensive information base on fisheries, the lack of proven management approaches and technologies and the limited technical capacity to implement fisheries projects. The MYFish project aims to improve the management capacity of Myanmar’s inland aquaculture and fisheries and facilitate the emergence of co-management of fisheries and small-scale aquaculture as cornerstones of rural food security and livelihoods.