[MARMAM] Dept. of Fisheries protects Irrawaddy dolphins and castnet fishermen in Myanmar

Tint Tun tinttun at gmail.com
Mon Mar 12 00:28:33 PDT 2007


In the Chapter V, Protected Wildlife and Wild Plants, Article 15 of
The Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (The State Law and
Restoration Council Law No. 6/94), it is described that -

The Director General (*of Forest Department*) shall, with the approval
of the Minister –

(a)     declare according to the following categories of wildlife
species which are to be protected from extinction;

(i)                   completely protected wildlife species;

(ii)                 protected wildlife species

(iii)                seasonally protected wildlife species;

According to the above Article 15, Forest Department declared a list
of to be protected animals by Notification No. 583/94 on 26th. October
1994 and Irrawaddy dolphins are listed in the "Completely Protected
Animals" category.

In order to safeguard and prevent the extinction of Irrawaddy
dolphins, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Department of Fisheries
(DoF), issued Notification No. 11/2005 on 28th. December 2005.  The
Notification No. 11/2005 prohibits the catching fish with using with
the –

(1) gillnet obstructed in waterway;

(2) gillnet stretched from bank to bank of the river;

(3) drift net longer than 300 feet; and

(4) fishing implements and fishing methods that prohibited by the DoF
from time to time

between Kyaukmyaung and Mingun segment of the Ayeyawady river
(formerly known as Irrawaddy river).  The Notification also stipulated
that the catching or killing of Irrawaddy dolphins and trade in whole
or parts of them is also prohibited, and in the case of accidentally
caught by fishing net, fishermen shall release them alive without

This prohibited area is also the virtual protected area of the
Department of Fisheries for Irrawaddy dolphins and castnet fishermen.

Castnet fishing with the help of Irrawaddy dolphin is a unique of
Myanmar and it has been practicing for centuries in upper reaches of
the Ayeyawady river.  Cooperative fishing with Irrawaddy dolphins can
be observed in the above Kyaukmyaung to Mingun segment of the river.

In order to perpetuate the cooperative fishing practice with Irrawaddy
dolphins and to enhance the conservation of the dolphins, DoF also
issues special ID to the castnet fishermen who fish with the help of
Irrawaddy dolphins within the area.  In collaboration with Wildlife
Conservation Society (WCS), DoF has opened an office in Mandalay to
monitor and patrol
the above mentioned virtual protected area regularly.

According to the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (The
State Law and Restoration Council Law No. 6/94), Minister for
Forestry, with the approval of the Government, can designate a
Protected Area by issuing notification.  No notification for Irrawaddy
dolphin Protected Area has been issued so far.

Therefore, though official Protected Area for Irrawaddy dolphins has
not been established yet, the above mentioned virtual protected area
for Irrawaddy dolphins and castnet fishermen has been established by
DoF in Myanmar by prohibiting some fishing gears, prohibiting the
catching, killing and trading Irrawaddy dolphins, notifying
instructions for dolphin accidental catch and, regular monitoring and
patrolling in the area.

Tint Tun

Marine Biologist

Union of Myanmar

email:  tinttun at gmail.com

cetaceanmm at mail4u.com.mm

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