Ships without a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) will be banned from going to the sea to fish officials from the Yangon Region Fisheries Department announced.
The government had provided a two-month grace period from September 1 to October 30, to install the equipment, and is now extending the period to the end of November.
VMS equipment is used in commercial fishing to allow regulatory organisations to track and monitor the activities of fishing vessels.
“As the equipment has to be bought from abroad, equipping boats will take time. To solve that issue, the government has extended the grace period,” said Yangon Region Fisheries Department Deputy Director U Than Sein.
The department called a tender to install VMS equipment in vessels and six firms won the tender. The owners of fishing boats in the region may contact any one of six firms to install the systems.
“Most owners of fishing boats in Yangon Region have already signed contracts with the firms to install the equipment. The companies are competing by saying their systems are better than others but no one thought about the time it would take to acquire the systems from abroad. Operators of fishing businesses had to ask the authorities to extend the deadline,” said U Kyaw Naing, secretary at the Myanmar Marine Fisheries Association.
VMS systems cost US$800 to US$1000 (K1.2 million to K1.5 million) and the installation fees range from US$39 to US$50, U Kyaw Naing said.
The Fisheries Department has not fixed an installation fee for the companies that install the systems, said U Thein Sein.
“As Yangon and Tanintharyi regions have the most ships, work on VMS installations is already being carried out. For Ayeyarwady Region and Mon State, the work began only in the third week of this month,” he said. Fishing-boat owners are also required to report the completed installation of the systems to the relevant authorities in their respective states and regions.
The owners of offshore fishing boats, companies installing the systems, Fisheries Department, and the Myanmar Fisheries Federation should meet to iron the timeframe to install the systems, said Myanmar Fisheries Federation Vice Chair Daw Toe Nandar Tin.
There are more than 1400 offshore fishing boats in Tanintharyi Region and Yangon Region has around 900. There are more than 3000 offshore fishing boats in Myanmar.
With VMS, information about the boat’s movements, fishing activity, and fishing locations can be monitored. This in turn will improve safety of fishing vessels and help better manage fisheries resources.
The installation of the systems is also required under the European Union’s standards for sustainable fishing. – Translated
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