Near-shore fishing boats have found grave difficulty in fishing, due to the increasing number of distant-shore boats coming to near-shore fishing areas, and, as well, vast restrictions around Chinese petroleum vessels.

Near-shore fishing boats have found grave difficulty in fishing, due to the increasing number of distant-shore boats coming to near-shore fishing areas, and, as well, vast restrictions around Chinese petroleum vessels. 

On the scarcity of fishing zones, U Than Myint, a near-shore fisherman said, “There are a lot of water-posts, marking restriction zones around Chinese petroleum vessels, which may be along the water-routes where we have always cast our nets. So, we no longer have a fishing area to make a living. Later on, we were even prohibited from taking our boats out due to their large vessels. We are having great difficulty. Where shall we go to make a living unless we can make it on this land and in this water where we were born and brought up? What should we do for our children’s education, health concerns, and, our social and economic welfare. We have so many difficulties. We are being bullied from all sides. If we cast the nets near the shore, we have conflicts with motor boats. They do not allow us. If we go a bit further, there are water-posts. So, we are at a disadvantage from all sides. We cannot make it work anywhere. So many difficulties.”

U Maung San Win doing fishery business, said that there were 200 near-shore boats. As the number of fishing boat increased, along with the area restrictions, the quantity of fish was also decreasing.

U Than Myint added, “Fishing areas are becoming more limited year after year. No nets are allowed because of the petroleum vessels.”

The areas are restricted due to worldwide fishery depletion, and the government was recommending to help set up a different business to replace that of fishing, for the sake of the fishermen, said U Tun Thein, the deputy director of Kyauk Phyu Fishery Department.

“Now fishing equipment is allowed in the sea. And certain areas are restricted. Fish will become extinct unless you have limitations.” said he.

Since the time Chinese petroleum vessels came to Maday Island, a lot of fishing restrictions have been made to locals, limiting the water-routes of fishermen. Around 500 locals, who’s livelihood  depended on being able to fish in the Kyauk Phyu Sea gathered and protested against the Chinese CNPC company on the 25th May, 2017.