Characterization of fisheries and marine wildlife occurrence in southern Rakhine State and western Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar.
WCS. July 2018.
Myanmar’s marine resources are important for the country’s national development as well as for local livelihoods. During July 2017 – July 2018, WCS in collaboration with Pathein University’s Marine Science Department, the Rakhine Coastal Resource Conservation Association (RCA), and other partners, conducted a marine fisheries activity and socio-economic assessment in order to develop a deeper understanding of the fishing communities and marine wildlife occurrence along Myanmar’s western coastline – the Mawtin Coast – in southern Rakhine State and western Ayeyarwady Region. The scope of the assessment covered both inshore and offshore fisheries, as well as key marine wildlife species including: cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), sea turtles, Dugong, elasmobranchs (sawfish, sharks, and rays), and salt water crocodiles. In short, we conducted participatory mapping of coastal fishing grounds and gear use across 13 communities and interviewed 481 inshore fisher households and 36 offshore fishers to better understand socioeconomic conditions. Our results revealed a total of 18 different major gear types currently utilized by inshore fishers. Mapping of coastal fishing grounds, gears used, and fishing practices provides a better understanding of local resource use and dependence, and its relevance to coastal livelihoods. A number of specific recommendations are provided for future efforts to advance sustainable fisheries and co-management, as well as informing marine spatial planning, biodiversity conservation, and marine protected area development. This report will therefore prove valuable for a wide variety of stakeholders to support sustainable fisheries and marine biodiversity conservation in the Mawtin Coast region and more broadly across Myanmar.