Myanmar’s aquaculture exports in the fiscal year of 2017-18 rose to over 560,000 tons of aquaculture and fishery products worth USD 711 million. It was a 20-year fish and seafood export record. Despite this positive trend, the future growth of the sector is threatened by a significant shortage of skilled labour. Specialized technicians are required for production and processing processes, especially if sustainability standards, certifications and the use of innovative technologies come into play.
Realising the aquaculture sector’s growth potential, the Myanmar government has taken action and established Myanmar’s first Aquaculture and Fisheries University to support upscaling of the aquaculture and fisheries sector and to fulfil the high demand of the private sector for specialized professionals. The university consists of two campuses: one aquaculture campus at University of Yangon and one fisheries campus at University of Myeik.
MYSAP supported the establishment of Myanmar’s first Bachelor of Science programme on Fisheries and Aquaculture at the University of Yangon since 2018. Apart from giving aid in the drafting process of the curriculum, MYSAP sent lecturers and professors from universities in New Zealand and Germany to train the lecturers and faculty members from University of Yangon’s Department of Zoology, who will be in charge of the newly set up Bachelor programme. the international trainers delivered lectures and workshops about research methods and experimental designs, reproductive biology of aquatic animals, fish nutrition and diseases. Furthermore, MYSAP also provided the required classroom equipment and accessories for the laboratory.
The B.Sc. Fisheries and Aquaculture course is designed to provide practical training and adequate scientific knowledge in the different aspects of aquaculture and fisheries. Being the first aquaculture programme, the B.Sc. Fisheries and Aquaculture was eagerly anticipated by students across Myanmar. 42 students were selected for the B.Sc. Fisheries and Aquaculture. They had to achieve a total of 420 marks in the matriculation exam with a minimum of 75 marks in Biology and 60 in English.
The first-degree class was opened on 3rd December 2018 by Yangon University’s Department of Zoology, the government’s Department of Fisheries and MYSAP. It will qualify the students for future jobs as fishery technicians, aqua-culturists, breeding managers or nutritionists. Furthermore, the graduated students can work as fishery managers for fish and shrimp farms, hatcheries and factories for fish feed, fish processing or value-addition. Due to the big interested of the private sector in the soon-to-be aquaculture and fisheries specialists, the Myanmar Fisheries Federation declared its support of the programme with further equipment and opportunities for internships and scholarships.
Also, MYSAP will not only continuously support the undergraduate level but also a post-graduate Master of Science Aquaculture and Fisheries programme starting in 2019. Here, MYSAP is facilitating the support of a regional/ASEAN university to support the University of Yangon in setting up the Master programme according to international standards.
The effective cooperation among MYSAP, the Department Fisheries, the Department of Zoology and Myanmar Fisheries Federation has culminated in calling the opening of the first course of BSc fisheries and aquaculture “A fruit of successful cooperation” during the opening ceremony.