Fisheries authorities will encourage fish farmers to raise their produce using industry standard good aquaculture practices (GAP) from April onward, an official from the Department of Fisheries (DOF) said on March 29.
“The department will try to persuade fish farmers from Yangon and Ayeyarwady regions next month to raise fish using GAP,” U Tun Win, a DOF director said during the weekly Myanmar Fisheries Federation meeting.
The practices are a way of farming food using standard procedures, feed, water and chemicals and keeping a record of these to ensure a safe product. Additionally, should a problem occur, its cause can be swiftly tracked down, he said.
“People demand foods that are safe and free from contaminants. Producers understand this and work hard to get quality control certificates, such as those issued by the International Standard Organization or Hazard Assessment Critical Control Points. We can even see them on drinking water bottles,” U Tun Win said.
“We are encouraging fish farmers to do this so that they can compete in the world market and earn higher prices for their produce. The department will begin issuing GAP certificates this year,” he added.
Interested farmers must register their ponds with the department, which will periodically check the ponds and test the feed, water quality and the amount and identities of the microorganisms living within.
The process will cost farmers K44,000 a year, said U Tun Win.
“At the moment, the EU only allows imports of our wild capture fish and we’ve been unable to market our farmed fish and prawn.
“After we have adopted industry-wide GAP, we will try to get EU approval to sell our cultured fish and prawn,” U Tun Win said.
U Hnin Oo, a chief executive committee member of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation, said the adoption of standard quality control procedures is an excellent plan but he suggested that it should be nationwide and cover all fish farming operations.
“It is a good plan. However, it is a bit difficult for fish farmers because it will cost them more money. If this idea also came with financial support, it would be even more beneficial,” U Hnin Oo said.