Influx of illicit Thai carp takes a bite out of Myanmar’s fishing industry

A Thailand fish farm near the Myawady-Mae Sot border.
A Thailand fish farm near the Myawady-Mae Sot border.

An imported species of carp from Thailand has been domestic fish farm sales near the Myawaddy-Mae Sot border, roughly 9,780 kgs of carp crosses the border through unofficial channels everyday according to the report from the Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF).
The Department of Fisheries and MFF for Kayin State will allegedly inform fish smugglers that they could be arrested, and charged as a result of trading carp and shrimp imported from Thailand.
“We’ve been hearing of carp being imported through unrecognised crossings from Thailand for a month now. Yet, we have only received an official report on the matter yesterday,” said U Win Kyaing, general secretary of the MFF, adding that Investigations are currently underway to identify these illegal channels.
Frozen shrimp, chickens and their eggs are imported into Myanmar from Thailand
when there is a scarcity of meat and fish within domestic markets, or at times when prices are high.
“The demand for shrimp domestically has risen, which we, as a nation, can’t meet. The importation of shrimp was permitted after a decline in local production. This permission was given for the legal importation of goods. Permission [to import fish] has not been granted as there isn’t a large domestic demand,” added U Win Kyaing.
The current price for 1.6kg of carp, within Yangon’s central fish market, fetches between Ks1,200-5,000 dependant upon size. After the arrival of the carp, fish could be sold for Ks300 cheaper, per kg, than that farmed locally this will hurt fish farmers.
As of 2016, Myanmar boasts nearly 480,000 acres of freshwater fish and shrimp farms, half of which are reportedly used for the farming of carp.

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