Priority should be given to ban electrofishing

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13 JUN 2020 - Source: Global New Light of Myanmar - With the arrival of rainy season in our country, local authorities in regions and states have raised awareness about banning catching fish with eggs in rivers and lakes from May to July to ensure safe spawning of fish during its breeding period.
At the same time, another effort for the food sufficiency of the country comes with ceremonies to release fingerlings into lakes and rivers in the rainy season.
In this time of the COVID-19 crisis we should eat "moderate amounts" of fish, because the bodies' production of COVID-19 antibodies can be increased due to the greater protein intake when eating fish.
However, on the dark side of the fishery sector, illegal electric-shock fishing has become a big challenge for conservationists and local authorities in their quest to save not only the endangered fish species but also the fish population in rivers and creeks, which people have been relying on for food since the days of yore.
The illegal fishing method involves putting lines of wire into the water, connecting the two ends to a battery and passing an electric shock into the water. This stuns the fish, which then float to the surface. The technique kills fish of all sizes. In some cases, it is found that the Ayeyawady dolphins, which are facing the risk of extinction, often also fall prey to electrocution. The practice was outlawed many years ago as it effectively depletes fish populations. The practice was outlawed many years ago as it effectively depletes fish populations. The Myanmar government has banned the electrofishing nationwide, punishing violators with a three-year prison sentence and a Ks300,000 fine.
We should educate people about the ban on electrofishing and the penalties for violators.
Just educating and punishing are not enough to prevent the illegal fishing especially in rural areas. We must find alternative livelihoods for fishermen in the electrofishing prone areas. The people in the areas are also highly advised to report hunting and fishing violations by calling authorities.
During the breeding period, a massive combined operation should be conducted at all the suspected fishing areas.
Before alarm bells ring, authorities should step up efforts to tackle the illegal fishing which can lead to depletion of our fish resource.

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