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Issue No:75
  • :January
  • :2017

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
—a Native American saying


The Tiger’s Mouth

By enacting new legislation and policies on tenure rights, labour rights and fishing rights the unique kyarr phong fishery in the Gulf of Mottama, Myanmar, can be substantially improved

This article is by Yin Nyein ( Program Manager, Delta and Coastal Programme, Network Activities Group (NAG), Myanmar and Sebastian Mathew (, Executive Secretary of ICSF

Kyarr in Burmese means ‘tiger’ and kyarr phong literally means ‘tiger mouth net’. It is the most abundant fishing gear in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar after bottom trawl, purse-seine and drift-net. The kyarr phong fishery—a bag net attached underneath a bamboo raft, both anchored together—is a unique fishery, an adaptation of stow-nets and stow-boats, originally used in large rivers for catching small prawns. It is now practised in the Gulf of Mottama (previously known as Martaban), between September and May, at a distance between 14 to 40 nautical miles from the low-water mark. The period June-August is the closed season.

In spite of operating at such distances, these rafts fish entirely within the internal waters of Myanmar. The straight baseline—extending 222 nautical miles and the longest notified...

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