Results of fish survey set to be released

Photo The RV Dr Fridtjof Nansen while it was in Myanmar last year. Inset photo: Among the studies conducted on the vessel was the amount of microplastics in fish. Photos: Myanmar Times

02 July 19 - Source: Myanmar Times - The result of studies conducted last year by scientists on a Norwegian research vessel will be released within the next couple of months, the Department of Fisheries has announced.

The research vessel RV Dr Fridtjof Nansen was in Myanmar from August to September 2018. The ship – named after a famous Norwegian explorer, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate – conducted a month-long study of fish resources and the marine ecosystem off Rakhine, Tanintharyi and Ayeyarwady.

U Tun Thein, deputy director of the Department of Fisheries, who participated in the study, said that the results are being released later than for the previous survey.

"Because the waters off other countries were included in this year's survey programme, more time was needed to compile the results, which will be released in July or August. The regional report will be released first and the results for individual countries will follow later," U Tun Thein said.

Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand were involved in the latest round of studies, which involved surveys of fish stocks, measurements of microplastic particles in the water, and microplastic contamination in fish.

The volume of microplastics in the sea is believed to be rising, and this could endanger fish, turtles, dolphins and other marine animals that ingest the debris.

The information collected by the research vessel will be very useful for universities in the country and the government, U Tun Thein said.

The results of the research in Myanmar's waters will also be used as part of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation's Food and Agriculture Organisation Plan.

The RV Dr Fridtjof Nansen previously visited Myanmar in 1979, 1980, 2013, and 2015, primarily to measure fish resources at the start and end of the monsoon season.

The research findings from the 1979 and 1980 visits, compared with the results from 2013, showed a decline in fish in the waters around the country.

Deep-sea fish stocks decreased by 90 percent, while coastal fish stocks decreased 75pc, according to the research. The 2015 study estimated that deep-sea fish stocks increased by 77pc and coastal fish increased by 40pc.

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