Fish is one of the most important sources of animal protein and micronutrients
in Myanmar with average consumption levels estimated to be approximately
30 kg/person/year . However, with significant levels of malnutrition in the country, these figures are likely to hide a large diversity of consumption patterns.

The fisheries sector in Myanmar provides employment to 3.2 million people (800,000 full-time and 2.4 million part-time).

In 2016, total national fish production was 4,645,020 metric tons. Inland and marine fisheries make up nearly 78% of Myanmar’s fish production, at 3,630,600 metric tons, and remain a key contributor to the national fish supply. Aquaculture has grown significantly in the past decade, and has now reached 22% of annual fish production, 1,014,420 metric tons in 2016 (according to government statistics reported to FAO). Aquaculture’s contribution to total fish consumption remains low compared to neigbouring Thailand (80%) and Bangladesh (55%), indicating the relative importance of capture fisheries, and likely potential for future growth of aquaculture.

WorldFish in Myanmar

WorldFish is working with the Myanmar Government and other partners to create a policy environment to improve fisheries management and capture more economic, social and environmental benefits for the long term. The WorldFish integrated research and development program is endorsed by the government and seeks to unlock the potential for growth in aquaculture, for example in the many household ponds in the Ayeyarwady Delta, Central Dry Zone, Shan State and Sagaing Region. Scaling-up smallholder aquaculture can bring benefits such as better incomes, nutrition and health.

Strengthening fisheries governance is an important objective particularly in open access areas that account for about 75% of the fish production from inland freshwater fisheries, equating to 1,125,000 metric tons or 24% of total national fish production. Improved fisheries governance will require the development of new policies, laws, better management practices and institutional arrangements that secure rights for small scale fishers and can balance ecological and human needs.

Current Priorities / Initiatives

  • Developing small-scale aquaculture, including stimulating growth of small and medium-size aquaculture enterprises
  • Managing a genetic improvement program for Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) and rohu carp
  • Increasing availability, access and consumption of micronutrient-rich small indigenous fish and vegetables
  • Improving Myanmar’s food basket through integrated rice-fish production
  • Strengthening the involvement of women, small-scale farmers, entrepreneurs and marginal groups in the domestic fish market
  • Recommending policies and legal reform based on research results for sustainable fisheries management and aquaculture growth
  • Maximizing sustainable fish production in small-scale fisheries with equitable benefits to fish-dependent communities
  • Assessing the impact of fishery management on fish production, incomes, biodiversity, food security, human nutrition and gender equity.

Anticipated impacts by 2022

  • 0.45M producer households adopt improved breeds, aquafeeds, fish health and aquaculture and fisheries management practices
  • 0.40M people, of which at least 50% are women, are assisted to exit poverty through livelihood improvements related to fisheries and aquaculture value chains
  • 0.12M people, of which 50% are women, are without deficiencies of one or more of the following essential micronutrients: iron, zinc, iodine, vitamin A, folate and B12
  • 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 10% increase in water and nutrient use efficiency in 0.34M tonnes of fish per annum
  • 0.35M more women of reproductive age are consuming an adequate number of food groups
  • 0.47M hectares of ecosystems restored through more productive and equitable management of small-scale fisheries resources and restoration of degraded aquaculture ponds

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