Small Cod Fish is a not-for-profit fishery and marine conservation project in Myanmar. They were founded in 2009 by a group of NGO volunteers.
To reduce the dangers faced by anglers who use small net cod fishing methods on Lake Thready and other lakes in Rakhine state as their main source of income.
Small Cod Fish is also interested in creating awareness about the threat that unregulated commercial fishing poses to lake water quality.
This means that Small Cod Fish works to improve regulations and community attitudes towards the sustainable use of natural resources.
Small Cod Fish Characteristics
- Small cod fishing is a traditional trade that will continue to be used in the future to provide a livelihood for communities around lake Tharawaddy.
- The government is currently unregulated and uncontrolled, making it potentially dangerous for anglers, fish, and other marine life.
- It can lead to extensive overfishing of fish stocks.
- Small fish are not valued as highly as large fish species, increasing their vulnerability to overexploitation.
- It is used both in subsistence and commercial fisheries.
- The main fish caught are freshwater stingrays, catfish, carps, and mullets.
- It is a traditional method that dates back centuries, allowing anglers to make a living by providing food for themselves and their families and selling the surplus at the market.
Small Cod Fish operate freely around lake Tharawaddy and are based in Kyauktawgyi village, about 2 hours from Yangon.
The Appearance of Small Cod Fish
Appearance Small Cod Fish have a unique appearance compared to other stinging catfish throughout the region.
The Lake Tharawaddy catfish has three distinct color patterns. This makes them easy to identify from other neighboring fish species similar in appearance.
- The Dorsal fin is black and has white scars on it, and it reaches about 15cm long.
- The Pectoral and pelvic fins look like oars and are black with yellow blotches. This gives the two fins a sail-like appearance.
- The anal, ventral, and caudal fins are white with black blotches.
- The body has a brownish-olive color with darker brown spots on it.
Origin of Small Cod Fish
Small cod fishing was first found in the country in the 1920s when the British introduced small net cod fishing to some of their colonies.
After independence, local fishers used to catch small net fisheries using small individual nets called cockle nets, who use these techniques as their main source of income.
Today, it is still a common method that uses bamboo and old leaf litter baskets as fish traps placed on the lake bottom.
Breeding of Small Cod Fish
Breeding techniques are now being carried out to ensure the originality of fish species in the lake. Currently, breeding is done with the breeding of dead fish for raising their offspring in three stages:
“Fish growing stage,” “breeding stage,” and the “breed-rearing stage.” The fish are raised without feeding up until about 4 cm.
Use of Small Cod Fish
Small cod fishing is used as a supplementary or substitute source of protein to the local population. It is also used in commercial fishing and is popular with tourists as a recreational activity.
Benefits of Small Cod Fish
1. It is a traditional method that local communities have used for centuries as their main source of income.
2. It is a free enterprise that allows local fishers to work independently to provide food and clothing for themselves and their families and other uses.
3. Small fish, not just large ones, are valuable in Myanmar as they can be eaten fresh or dried, which means that all fish can be sold at the market.
4. There is a good market for the small fish fry, and this can be sold to tourists as food for fishing.
5. It increases people’s awareness about marine conservation.
6. It encourages the sustainable use of natural resources following local needs and values.
7. It encourages the government and NGOs’ sustainable use of natural resources to control overfishing.
8. Small Cod Fish is part of an effort to improve government regulations and help get community attitudes on subjects like small fishing and sustainable fishing towards managing natural resources in the lake.
9. It strives to make local communities more informed about marine conservation and how they can reduce the risks that unregulated commercial fishing poses by using sustainable fishing methods.
10. It encourages local anglers to join the efforts of the government to find a sustainable way to use their aquaculture resources.
History of Small Cod Fish
Small Net Fishing has existed since the late 1800s and was first introduced by the British in Burma and other Southeast Asian countries.
Since then, small net fishing has been used by other countries in several parts of the world to obtain food for the local communities. Small fish species, such as the “Gyaritus,” can be found in fresh water and marine environments.
They normally belong to the class of fish with their body shape like that of a spiral along with a single main fin used for swimming. These fast-swimming fish can go anywhere in search of food or escape danger.
Small Cod Fish and Fishing Methods
Small Cod Fish is currently operating a set of three small net cod fishing methods in Kyauktawgyi village, located on the shoreline of lake Tharawaddy.
These methods are a traditional way of fishing and are common on the lake. They allow anglers to catch any sized fish, from small to large.
Each net has one open end and is not circular. This means that the fish can swim freely into and out of the net without being trapped.
The nets have been modified to reach deeper into the lakes than before, allowing more of the underwater ecosystem to be explored by anglers searching for larger fish species.
Even though this fishing method is generally not of great importance to the local population, it can still provide a substantial harbor of protein and other natural resources.
The lake’s fishes should be considered a secondary source that are an important part of the overall system and, if used sustainably, will have a positive impact on the lake’s ecology.
Anglers have the right to exploit their traditional fishing methods following sustainable practices.
This will help manage their natural resources and ensure the continuous growth of small net fisheries that meet local needs and value systems.
The people of Myanmar should also be encouraged to know more about sustainable fishing techniques and help protect natural resources by supporting government regulations that limit the use of nets, hooks, chemical additives, or other fishing byproducts. Thank you for reading this very interesting article.