Rakhine fisherfolk struggle despite fisheries export boom

MORE than 560,000 tonnes of fish were exported last year, the highest volume in the past 20 years, worth over US$700 million (K1.1 trillion), according to the government.
But these figures do not matter to fishermen such as Ko Than Zaw Htway, who said that despite the area’s rich marine resources, they live in abject poverty.

“We are poor. Rakhine’s coast is long and rich in natural resources, but Rakhine is among the poorest regions in the country,” he said.

Another fisherman, Ko Than Zaw Oo, blamed increasing competition.

“The population is increasing but the sea is not. The number of fishermen is increasing too, so we are suffering,” he said.

Although he has been a fisherman for more than 20 years, he is still unable to buy his own boat.

He works on someone else’s boat catching fish and shrimp at inshore sites along with 40 colleagues. They share the income from their catch equally with the vessel owner.

“We spend K500,000 (US$314) to K600,000 a month to operate our boat. Fuel costs K240,000 per barrel. We have to limit our use to one barrel per month. Forget about catching fish, fuel is used as soon as you leave for sea.

Credit: here

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