Cyclone Nargis Harms Myanmar Seafood Industry


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
May 13, 2008

Cyclone Nargis had a devastating impact on Myanmar's fishing industry earlier this month, sinking fishing vessels and damaging docks and storage facilities.

The storm killed more than 22,000 of the coastal population; some 41,000 are still missing and 1.5 million people are displaced.

During the cyclone, five areas of Myanmar were hit, including the capital Yangon, Ayeyarwady and Bago as well as the Mon and Kayin states. These five areas produce 80 percent of Myanmar's aquaculture products and 26 percent of its shrimp production.

The five areas are home to the country's major fishing ports and landing sites. Most of Myanmar's fishing forces are small boats that often ignore weather warnings. The country doesn't have a severe weather early-warning system. Many of the small fishing boats that were out at sea when the cyclone hit were never found. Many of those docked at the ports sank, along with the destruction of the port infrastructure. Recorded damages include landing facilities, storages and fish preservation plants.

Myanmar's fishing industry provides employment to more than 800,000 people, excluding those in supporting industries.

According to the latest government data from 2001, Myanmar's fishing fleets consist of about 26,000 small fishing boats and 1,900 offshore fishing vessels. Its fishing industry produces 1.4 millions metric tons a year.

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