Workshop on potential for sea bass success

As demand for seafood continues to rise regionally and worldwide, Myanmar has a good chance to develop its aquaculture industry in a sustainable and a profitable way, by investing more into alternative fish species including seabass, a recent workshop heard.

The US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) said at the workshop that Myanmar had a good base for aquaculture, and that it was committed to working with the industry to help it grow.

The workshop was aimed at raising awareness among farmers that the Asian sea bass, or Lates colcarifer, has great commercial value in Myanmar, though is under-farmed.

According to a recent report, the indigenous carp, rohu, constitutes roughly 70pc of all farmed fish, as reported by The Myanmar Times.

The sea bass has both domestic and international demand, and can be grown in fresh-, salt- or seawater, industry insiders said.

Over the past decade, the market for seabass has markedly changed, in terms of farming techniques, local consumption and export demand, said U Nay Myo Zaw, manager of United KMK Company from Myeik which has been commercially breeding sea bass for 10 years.

“When we start doing this business we just relied on natural fishing methods. Seven years ago, we began breeding and using hatchery and feeding techniques,” he said. “For several years, the local aquaculture industry struggled in terms of exports and earnings, but for the past three years the market has improved, particularly for sea bass, as local demand has risen and earnings are good.”

Myanmar’s main export market for sea bass is Europe, which buys the fish cold from European Union certified factories, said U Nay Myo Zaw. “Thailand has had a successful sea bass export industry for many years, and even buys from Myanmar to export to other countries,” he said.

Sea bass are bred in the Myeik archipelago in Tanintharyi Region, as well as in Yangon and Ayeyarwady regions. Their market price is K8000 per viss (1.6 kilograms), which is relatively high compared with indigenous carp, which sell for around K2500 per viss.

In the past, Myanmar exported 800 gram sea bass, but now tends to sell the fish at 500 grams. U Nay Myo Zaw said this has boosted profits as companies don’t need to wait so long for the fish to grow. Local demand has growing from restaurants and hotels over the past three years, he added.

A USSEC report presented during a meeting with farmers last month suggested that they should focus on fast growth industries, targeting market needs, using good feed and feeding techniques, quality and disease-free fingerlings, appropriately handling fish and feed, and keeping good records.

Though many people don’t think of it this way, the report said, aquaculture should be considered as a value chain, starting from brood stock and ending on a plate in front of the final consumer.

 

Tags: Business, Myanmar, The US Soybean Export Council, USSEC, U Nay Myo Zaw, Myanmar Times, United KMK Company, Myeik, European Union, Tanintharyi Region, Yangon, Ayeyarwady, fish farming

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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