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December 12, 2013




From its border with Bangladesh in the north to its border with Thailand in the south, Myanmar has a 2,800-kilometer coastline interlaced with islands.


Bangladesh initiated shrimp farming decades ago.  In 1976, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded a semi-intensive, three-stage, giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) farming project using wild postlarvae collected from the Irrawaddy Delta.  In 1983, a much larger scale ADB project was implemented to develop inland fisheries that included giant tiger shrimp farming.  In 1997, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations funded a project to develop backyard shrimp hatcheries to support the shrimp farming industry.  That project also identified locations for hatcheries and farms.  Together, these projects got shrimp farming started in Myanmar, but because of the lack of infrastructure, development has been very slow.


Giant tiger shrimp have been farmed in traditional or traditional plus farms near the border with Bangladesh since before the 1980s.  An estimated 6,000 hectares there produce around 30,000 metric tons of shrimp a year.  Due to poor infrastructure within Myanmar, the shrimp from those farms are transported across the border to Bangladesh for processing and export.  A few hatcheries supply the farms with postlarvae.


Today, the Irrawaddy Delta, south of Yangon, the country’s largest city and former capital, is the center of a new shrimp farming industry in Myanmar.  Because of weak infrastructure and banking system—and the white spot syndrome virus (WSSV)—development has been slow.  Nonetheless, since 2001, over 12 companies have operated intensive shrimp farms is the region.  In 2006, white shrimp (P. vannamei) farming was legalized in Myanmar, and many hatcheries and farms switched to it.  In 2012, their estimated production was 31,000 metric tons.  To support the farms, 13 hatcheries are in operation, mainly along the country’s west coast.


According to Department of Fisheries data, Myanmar has 120 plants that process farmed and wild-caught shrimp, freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) and fish.  Twelve processing and cold storage facilities around Yangon are certified by the European Union.


Recently, a new government policy on shrimp farming has renewed interest in the industry.  A trial using semi-biofloc technology has been successfully implemented south of Yangon within a soft shell crab farm.  It’s a high-risk venture because crabs are known to be carriers of the whitespot virus, but it was the only location with good, clean, earthen ponds and a stable power supply.


Source: AQUA Culture AsiaPacific (Editor/Publisher, Zuridah Merican, email  Shrimp Farming in Myanmar.  Nyan Taw and Soe Tun.  Volume 9, Number 6, Page 14, November/December 2013.

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