Mon State Government to Crack Down on Illegal Fishing

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Members of the Mon State government said that they would take action against illegal fishing in the state’s coastal areas, which they say is being perpetrated by boats from the Ayeyarwady Region.

Parliamentarians asked about government action concerning illegal fishing in the 15th Mon State parliament meeting held from February 6-19, and asked the authorities to take action against human rights abuses occurring on fishing boats, including slavery and trafficking.

“These boats are trying to catch [fish] in our maritime area,” Htun Htay, the minister of Mon State’s ministry of agriculture, livestock and transportation, told NMG.

According to government officials, more than 1,000 fishing boats from Ayeyarwady Region were found fishing in Mon State’s maritime territory without official permission. Representatives from the state’s fishing management department, General Administration Department, and police force went to monitor the activities on January 22-23.

“We have lost our national treasures and the country has not received any tax revenue, either,” Dr. Aung Naing Oo, a state parliamentarian for Chaungzon Township, told NMG. “Laborers are forced to work on the fishing boats. This issue is huge and hot. In my opinion, the Union or state government needs to tackle this problem and take action against it.”

Nine large boats and 320 smaller off-shore fishing boats are registered with the fishing management department and therefore allowed to fish in off-shore fishing blocks in Mon State’s maritime territory.

There are 1,200 boats registered with the department to fish within 10 miles of the coast.

The state government said they are cooperating with the Burmese navy to monitor fishing activities off of the Mon coast. They have reportedly held discussions with the Burma Army’s Southeastern Command to this end.