MYSAP supports sustainable mangrove-shrimp culture to improve the local farmers’ livelihoods and the climate resilience of Myanmar’s coastal areas. Combining mangrove restoration and shrimp farming harbours an opportunity for sustainable shrimp production on more than 240.000 acres (97124.5541 Hectares) in Myanmar (DoF 2018). Lacking modern shrimp farming technology as well as shrimp hatcheries and nurseries, the growth of Myanmar’s shrimp sector has been slow since the destruction caused by the cyclones Nargis and Giri and 2008 and 2010. “The availability of larvae in the year 2000 and now is incredibly different. Post-larvae coming from local shrimp hatcheries have decreased by about 70%. We only have 30% of the former output”, said U Maung Maung, a shrimp farmer from Mayan Zwe Bar Shrimp Farming Zone, Kyauktan Township.
In recent years, mangrove friendly shrimp farming became popular in ASEAN countries since it harbours a variety of benefits such as high yields up to 350 kilogrammes per hectare per year, no need of additional feed or antibiotics and breeding in a natural environment along with other species like crabs, fish and molluscs that can be harvested as co-products. Also, with these systems it is possible to combine coastal economic activities with climate resilience actions like mangrove reforestation. For example, cooperation between the livestock and forestry departments of Vietnam and Indonesia with international development agencies to develop mangrove-friendly shrimp farming in the coastal strips of both countries increased in the last years and already achieved tangible results.
Like these countries, Myanmar does not only have huge mangrove areas but also many abandoned shrimp ponds in former mangrove covered areas in its coastal regions, which are a perfect opportunity for reforestation and the implementation of mangrove friendly shrimp fattening systems. Harnessing these potentials, MYSAP is for example assisting shrimp farmers of Mayan Zwe Bar Shrimp Farming Zone, Kyauktan Township. “First, we have requested MYSAP to improve the availability of shrimp post larvae. After initial trials, setting up of a proper nursery and giving training, on 15 November of 2018, they supported with us one million disease-free post larvae to do some additional stocking in ponds”, said U Maung Muang.
Mangroves are not only important from a climate resilience point of view. They will offer a natural ecosystem for coastal fish and shrimp. “That’s good. The presence of a mangrove forest won’t oppose shrimp farming and vice versa. The evidence is here. It will even improve the shrimps’ growth. While restoring mangroves, we successfully work on mangrove friendly shrimp farming”, said a shrimp farmer from Kyauktan Township.
Kyauktan township is located near Yangon where the biggest seafood customers are based. It is a further opportunity to develop shrimp farming in this area. MYSAP helps local small-scale farmers to directly connect to restaurants in Yangon that are interested in obtaining high-quality products from sustainable, eco-friendly production.
As the shrimps were ready for harvest in August 2019, chefs from nearby Yangon came to one of the farms to test the shrimps. “It’s fresh and tasty. In fact, I haven’t eaten shrimps like this for a long time. We are currently buying shrimps from traders from markets in Yangon, but the products are not always of high quality. So, we are happy to see that these farmers produce high quality shrimp so close to Yangon”, Chef Orng, an owner of ORNG Kitchen, satisfied after tasting the shrimp coming from one of Kyauktan’s mangrove-shrimp polyculture farms supported by MYSAP.
The mangrove friendly shrimp farming project supported by MYSAP is a comprehensive project. It is not only to restore mangrove but also supporting the local shrimp farmers in making a living. “We need modern farming approaches and a better access to inputs like post larvae. We like MYSAP’s approach to set up mangrove-friendly shrimp aquaculture and support it very much”, said U Thar Aung, Kamarlut Village, Kyauktan Township.