reeling in the bounty — EU helps to raise the bar in Myanmar’s aquaculture sector

Fishmongers work at the Kyimyindine Central Sanpya Fish Market in Yangon. Photo: Xinhua
Fishmongers work at the Kyimyindine Central Sanpya Fish Market in Yangon. Photo: Xinhua

Representatives from the European Union provided valuable input to stakeholders in Myanmar’s fishery industry by providing training on hygiene and safety procedures, said a spokesperson from the nation’s industry body.
“Only when our fish farms establish high quality aquaculture practices can Myanmar boost its exports. We very much welcome these types of initiatives,” said U Win Kyaing, general secretary of the federation.  He made the remarks during a ceremony that was held at the federation in Yangon yesterday.
It was the first training programme of its kind to be provided by the EU and in addition to disseminating information aimed at improving food safety, the course also covered compliance issues for producers and exporters of aquaculture fishery products. The overall goal of the training was to increase the sector’s production and exports, said EU Ambassador to Myanmar Mr Roland Kobia.
“This is an important step towards boosting aquaculture production and improving food safety, whether it be for consumers of the traditional Myanmar meal of mohinga [fish broth] or seafood lovers abroad,” he said during the ceremony.
Consumers will benefit from the knowledge acquired during the training, as it will lead to better safety and hygiene standards in the production phase of the country’s fishery sector. The advice is based on European standards, which are among the world’s highest, the ambassador told reporters after the ceremony.
A total of 101 trainees took part in the training, which was held from 7 September to 7 October. They were comprised of personnel from the Department of Fisheries, as well as practitioners from fish farms and hatcheries, processers and fish feed manufactures and suppliers, as well as veterinary drug suppliers and importers.
The EU upgraded 20 of 116 cold storages in Myanmar that complied with its quality standards, said the general secretary, adding that these factories are now exporting fishery products to the EU. According to the federation, the EU has already approved exports of aquaculture fish from Myanmar – but will exclude any that export fish caught in the wild as opposed to being bred for farming in captivity.
The EU ambassador told The Global New Light of Myanmar that the next step for the trainees is to undertake practical training with an expert from the EU, Mr Jonah Van Beijnen, which will begin on 26 November.
Inspection teams from the Fisheries Department will take part in training in January, he added.
According to statistics of the federation, Myanmar exported 6,282 metric tonnes of fishery products at a value of more than $9 million to the EU market since sanctions were lifted in 2012.

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