Conservation and sustainable use of freshwater ecosystems in Myanmar [Kachin State and Tanintharyi Region]

Organization : Fauna & Flora International (FFI)

Project Period
: April 2016 – December 2018
Project Site
: 891 ha
Grant Amount
: US$86,000
: US$318,768

Executive Summary :

Currently there is very limited data available to aid the conservation of freshwater fish and to assess the threats they face in Myanmar. FFI has an ongoing commitment to building local capacity on fish taxonomy and to undertaking comprehensive surveys in the Upper Irrawaddy and Tanintharyi/Lenya watersheds to identify key biodiversity areas for fish conservation. Several sites with outstanding fish diversity and numerous species new to science have been identified. However, even within designated Protected Areas no protection is afforded to fish and freshwater ecosystems. Outside Protected Areas the Myanmar fisheries law allows the designation of fisheries management and conservation areas, but very few have been designated and effectively managed to date. Fish are threatened by unsustainable fishing practices, open access, illegal gold mining, introduced species and hydropower development plans. The objectives of this project are: 1) to complete the assessment of freshwater KBAs in the Upper Irrawaddy and Tanintharyi/Lenya watersheds, 2) to pilot locally managed fisheries areas including fish conservation zones (FCZ) for the protection of freshwater KBAs, 3) to integrate community-managed fisheries areas/fish conservation zones into protected area zonation and management plans and facilitate legal recognition. The project integrates traditional ecological knowledge and modern science for the identification of key fish biodiversity areas and replaces open access with recognized locally managed fisheries areas. In Myanmar this constitutes a major shift in the conservation paradigm from ‘fence and fine’ policies to a community based conservation approach.

Main threatened species according to IUCN Red List that may be influenced by the project :

  • Indawgyi – six species new to science
  • Mali Hka four- species new to science
  • Tanintharyi/Lenya watershed 10 species new to science