50 % of Myanmar Aquarium Fish are at risk

03 October 2019                   

Myanmar Ornamental Fish Entrepreneurs Association told MIRadio that about 50 per cent of the pet fish in Myanmar are at risk of extinction.

The spokesperson from the association said that at the 6th International Exhibition and Conference on Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries Industry.

The exhibition kicked off at Rose Garden Hotel on Thursday.

MIradio interviewed the entrepreneurs and experts for more on the pet fish business and the threat they are facing.

Joint Secretary(1), Myanmar Ornamental Fish Entrepreneurs Association, U Khin Maung oo, “Myanmar is home to 1468 species of fish, off which 40 per cent can be exported as pet fish and half of the pet fish are threatened by extinction. And the foreign customers like the fish which are caught naturally. They think those fish are strong and healthy. Some people here eat the fish species which are kept as pet in foreign countries. Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are major exporters of Myanmar pet fish.”

Myanmar Ornamental Fish Entrepreneurs Association operates under the Myanmar Fisheries Federation in 2007, with 300 individual members.

Foreign customers usually buy freshwater fish from places like Ayeyarwaddy, Inndawgyi, Inle lake and they are also interested in aquatic plants, and stones used in aquarium.

U Mya Thein, patron of the Myanmar Ornamental Fish Entrepreneurs Association said, “In Myanmar, the pet fish is not valued that much… like there are pet fish living in drain and in the paddy field. We tag the scientific name to them and export. Other countries, for example, Singapore generate 60 million dollars to 90 million dollars but for us, Myanmar generates barely 1 million dollars. This is just for export. And there are not many companies doing this. Now it’s only a handful of companies. What I suggest is we need to help each other and share knowledge as few people know scientific names and so on.”

Off the 1500 fish species, 76 species are identified as pet fish.

It is also learnt that there are about one hundred pet fish farming businesses in Myanmar.

However, the quality of production and the farming need to be improved. It is noted that visitors cannot visit the pet fish ponds like the ones in other countries as the local pet fish businesses still need to improve the hygiene and standard.

Majority of the pet fish on the market are freshwater fish.

Fisheries are already an important export sector since fish is second to rice in its contribution to the Myanmar diet and may be the most important source of protein for the people of Myanmar. Given the country’s long coastline that offers considerable potential, the sector contributes over $300 million per year to Myanmar’s positive foreign trade balance.

For more on the exhibition, Ko Phone Myat, the organizer of the event said “The International Exhibition & Conference on Agriculture, Livestock and Aqua Fisheries in Myanmar (Agri Livestock-Aqua Fisheries Myanmar) was established to bring a connecting bridge for Myanmar and International enterprises in the agriculture, livestock and aquaculture industry to forge linkages and expand business. The 6th edition continues attracting much attention from quality local and overseas participants, promising the best trade platform for industry players and potential buyers to exchange ideas and find business Opportunities in the industries. The exhibition includes three significant events.”

Arker Kyaw