Collapse in Myanmar Seafood Exports Puts 1 Million Jobs At Risk

About 1 million people may lose their jobs in Myanmar’s fisheries industry, with almost all exports ceasing since February as the spread of Covid-19 prompted major buyers, led by China and the U.S., to halt orders.

Processing plants wouldn’t have been able to deliver anyway, as factory closures were part of the government’s measures to stall the pandemic. Before the outbreak, the Myanmar Fisheries Federation forecast record exports of $1 billion this year, up about 40% from 2019. That’s been slashed to $350 million.

The fisheries sector employs about 3.5 million people in Myanmar, roughly 6% of the Southeast Asian nation’s workforce. In some coastal regions, one in three workers earns a living from seafood and marine products, according to a World Bank report in June 2019.

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Khine Lin Kyaw