Freshwater striped catfish must not be bred on large scale at present: MFF

Local fish farmers must not breed freshwater striped catfish on a large scale at present due to obstacles in legally exporting the species to China, according to the Myanmar Fisheries Federation.


To ensure legal export of freshwater striped catfish, the federation had forwarded a proposal to the General Administration of Customs China (GACC), seeking its cooperation, on 5 September, 2018 through the commercial attache with the Myanmar embassy in China. But, GACC has taken no action yet.


“The MFF is making arrangements to export freshwater striped catfish to China in cooperation with the Ministry. But, the process is not finished yet. Therefore, it is slightly difficult to export the fish species legally. We would like to tell farmers that they must not breed freshwater striped catfish on a large scale for the moment. We will let local fish breeders know about the market conditions so that they know the right time to expand the breeding business,” said Dr Toe Nandar Tin, Vice Chairman, MFF.


While exploring potential markets in Asian countries, including China, the MFF had found that only freshwater striped catfish had export potential as they are easy to breed, have a high growth rate, and international acceptance. Therefore, the federation had advised farmers to breed the species.


“However, local entrepreneurs, who are breeding the fish for export, need to scale production depending upon the market conditions,” Dr. Toe Nandar Tin had said at the Fisheries Sector Entrepreneurs Regular Meeting (11/2019), held on 25 June at the Myanmar Fisheries Federation, Yangon.


“Although we are urging them to breed freshwater striped catfish for export to the Chinese market, they need to check the volume of demand from China. We have heard that local fish breeders are facing losses because they could not export their products as expected,” she said.


Currently, natural fish and prawn can be exported to China through the legal channel. In September, 2018, Myanmar exported one container of pangasius hypophthalmus species to China on a trial basis. But, the entrepreneurs had exported the fish without registering on China’s website.


Myanmar fish need to be sent to the General Administration of Customs China (GACC) along with a guarantee that the fish and prawn intended for export are disease—free. Then, China signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to allow Myanmar to export the fish legally.


Officials from the Ministry of Commerce, the Fisheries Department, and the Myanmar Fisheries Federation will head to China if Myanmar is granted permission to meet with officials from the General Administration of Customs China.


Myanmar exports aquatic products to over 40 countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Japan. Myanmar striped catfish are demanded mainly by China.


By Aye Yamone(Translated by Ei Myat Mon)