Domestic fish industry flounders due to COVID-19 pandemic

By Nyein Nyein

The COVID-19 impacts resulted in less fish consumption, according to the Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF).
The coronavirus pandemic shut down the wedding, donation events, festivities and restaurants. It also poses difficulties in transportation. The restrictions caused a slump in fish consumption in the local market. Moreover, the individual income loses from heightened COVID-19 measures such as long-term restraining order. The fish consumption in domestic market sharply fell.
“Local fish consumption is on the decline. The local consumption is heavily reliant on the restaurants, religious events, tourism industry, donation, festivities and wedding. Nevertheless, they are closed due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The disruption in the logistic sector added another reason,” MFF General Secretary U Win Kyaing affirmed.
Additionally, the market is bearish. The fish industry is moving a downward trend. The rohu price dropped by K500 per viss (a viss equals 1.6kg) from about K1,300 a viss. Similarly, the cost of river catfish slipped to K300 from K500 per viss, freshwater pomfret price also sharply fell from K700 to K200 per viss, MFF stated.
Last 6 January 2021, the Ministry of Commerce discussed to promote local fish consumption through video conferencing. At the virtual event, Union Minister Dr Than Myint for Commerce delivered a message to encourage local fish consumption triggered by the COVID-19 impacts. He urged those stakeholders in the fish industry to exert concerted efforts to boost fish consumption and tackle logistic sector problems.
The consumers in lower Myanmar; Ayeyawady, Yangon, Taninthayi and Mon and Rakhine, states highly demand the fish and fish production also has risen. Nevertheless, people in central and upper Myanmar, where there is small fish production, have less fish consumption. Therefore, the fish are required to be sent to those regions, U Win Kyaing elaborated.
“People in upper Myanmar and mountain regions experience high price of fish. Furthermore, fish quality declined due to transportation delays.
“We need better logistics and supply chain management and faster distribution for the fish to reach Upper Myanmar at a fair price. This way, the local fish market can be expanded,” he added.
At present, breeders are floundering due to the COVID-19 impacts and decrease in price. Typically, Myanmar has daily consumption of about 600,000 visses of farmed fish. The local fish consumption plunged to 60-65 per cent during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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