ICSFDC News Alerts

Myanmar: Protect Myanmar's marine resources from being pillaged to point of no return May 20,2016   |  Source: The Guardian

As Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) engaged in a historic transfer of power in the Myanmar capital of Naypyidaw in March, my Burmese colleagues and I stood on a deserted beach 170 miles to the southwest, near Gwa on the Rakhine coast. We were speaking to local fishermen about their livelihoods and hearing about the unfortunate death of a young dugong – southeast Asia’s cousin of the manatee. To the naked eye, the blue sea and miles of white sand with no development or people in sight were a vision of paradise. And yet, as we learned, below the surface things were far from idyllic. The young dugong that accidentally drowned in a fishing net was just one symptom of another tragedy and challenge unfolding in this country – one that, while nearly unnoticed, could have major implications for the future of millions of rural people. Literally out of sight, the country’s marine resources have been pillaged almost to the point of no return. Research data released in February of this year by the Norwegian government demonstrated a decline in Myanmar’s oceanic and coastal fish stocks of between 70-90% since the late 1980’s.

The previous day, I had listened to U Myint Aung, the leader of a local community conservation group set up to protect nesting


© 2016 Guardian News and Media Limited

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