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5.1 Commercial production of fish seed

Commercial production of fish seed of cultivated carps by the hypophysation technique should be continued and expanded as the area under culture in the country increases. Hlawga fish farm should be converted to a fully fledged fish seed farm for the production of Indian and Chinese carp seeds only. In order to do so, some additions and alterations have to be effected in the farm. More nursery-cum-rearing ponds should be constructed for raising sufficient fingerlings. A few more stocking ponds would be necessary for rearing induced-bred fingerlings and yearlings to prospective breeders. To obtain more efficient breeding and higher survival of hatchlings, it is advisable to make some arrangements for the circulation of water. Hlawga fish farm has the advantage of having a source of water which can be tapped by gravitation flow. At present the Directorate has to pay a rent of K 1.00 per 3 785 1 (1 000 gal) of water to the Rangoon Corporation since Hlawga lake supplies drinking water to the city of Rangoon. With the completion of the 7 mi2 (18 km2) Pugyi reservoir (24 million million gallon storage capacity) project, the Hlawga lake would be constantly fed from the new reservoir. Any quantity of water could then be tapped.

It is recommended that the present drain located in between the series of ‘A’ nursery ponds be converted into a breeding and hatching channel with flowing water fitted with inlet pipes and a sluice provided at the outlet side so that the whole channel could be drained out whenever necessary. The sluice gate should be protected effectively against entrance of weed fishes and predatory fishes. The incoming water from the paddy field could be diverted. The channel with constant flow of water would maintain lower water temperature than the ponds. In the channel, breeding hapa and hatching cloth hapa or circular hatching funnels could be fixed. In future the whole breeding and hatching operations could be carried out in tanks inside the laboratory with a continuous flow of water.

During the coming breeding season special effort should be made to obtain mature specimens of Cirrhina mrigala. A number of mrigal breeders at Hlawga fish farm had shown signs of maturity in the last year and it is expected that they will become fully mature during the 1971 breeding season. In addition, attempts should be made to collect mrigal breeders in April from rivers. Once mrigal is bred, the progeny are expected to mature in ponds more easily; the stock of catla breeders should also be increased.

Common carp has been observed to be a satisfactory donor for pituitary glands. At least 1 000 – 2 000 mature common carp should be raised for the collection of glands every year. Phalan fish farm, which has been ear-marked for the culture and breeding of the Indonesian strain of common carp, can raise the required number. It is advisable to segregate the males and females and raise them in separate ponds. The segregation would prevent loss of hormone by natural spawning in the pond.

5.2 Fish seed collection from natural sources

With the success in artificial production of sufficient fish seed, the collection of spawn, fry and fingerlings has come to an end. The expert recommends that the collection of mrigal fingerlings continue until the species is bred in large quantities. Mention has already been made of the difficulty in obtaining mature specimens of mrigal for breeding. Yandoon has been observed to be a good centre having a very high percentage of mrigal and other major carp species. Establishment of a good collection centre near Yandoon would be advisable. The Rangoon Yandoon Road which is under construction would definitely help quicker transport of fish seed from Yandoon.

5.3 Fish farm management

5.31 Nursery practices

Further improvement in the management of nurseries should be made at each operational stage to reduce mortality and ensure a higher survival of fry. Effective filters should be provided in inlets to prevent wild fish entering into the nursery ponds. Treatment with soap and oil emulsion should be given for the control of predatory insects in nurseries before the introduction of fry.

5.32 Construction of fish farms

As mentioned in Section 2.81, it is essential that a civil engineer should be entrusted with the task of construction of fish ponds after making a topographical survey of the fish farm site and preparing a blue print for the whole fish farm. It is recommended that the Directorate of Fisheries should appoint a qualified farm engineer. He should be able to make the necessary modifications of some of the recently constructed farms and properly plan for further extension.

5.33 Culture of miscellaneous compatible species along with major carp

Possibilities for the culture of the following fishes, along with major carp, should be examined when research facilities are developed:

  1. Osteobrama belangeri: It forms the bulk of catches in upper and central Burma and grows 3 – 4 kg.

  2. Pangasius pangasius and Ompok bimaculatus: These catfishes are predatory on small fishes and would control minnows in stocking ponds.

  3. Macrobrachium rosenbergii: Culture and breeding of the giant freshwater prawn may be tried.

  4. Clarius magur, Heteropneustis fossilis and Anabas testudineus: These live fishes are popular food fishes in Burma.

  5. Notopterus chitala: This species of rapid growth, although believed to be indigenous in Burma, is very rare. It grows to 1.2 m (4 ft), and would control small fishes when stocked with major carps.

5.34 Studies on pond water and soil

Information on physico-chemical conditions of water and pond soil is absolutely essential for the proper management of fish farms. The appointment of a hydrologist and a soil chemist in the Fisheries Departments will be necessary to enable such studies.

5.4 Culture of exotic fishes

5.41 Chinese carp

It is recommended that due attention be given to rear the Chinese carp stocked at Hlawga and Nyaungshwe fish farms. Induced breeding of Chinese grass and silver carps should be taken up as soon as these attain full maturity. Both silver carp and grass carp should be stocked with major carps in composite fish culture. When sufficient stock of grass carp is produced, a programme for the systematic stocking of grass carp in Inle Lake for the control of noxious aquatic weeds and development of fisheries in the lake should be formulated by the Directorate of Fisheries.

5.42 Tilapia

Further steps should be taken to extend tilapia culture into the new area of upper and central Burma and a few more tilapia seed distribution centres be opened in suitable places. In deltaic areas in lower Burma, attempts should be made to culture tilapia with piscivorous species such as Ophicephalus striatus, O. marulius, Lates calcarifer and Silonia silondia.

5.43 Giant gourami

Large-scale breeding of gourami should be taken up at Phalan fish farm. Facilities for breeding and culture of gourami should be provided and a trained technical staff should concentrate on this work.

5.5 Intensive fish culture

The demonstration on intensive fish culture taken up at the private fish pond near Mingaladon Airport should be continued until the end of August 1971, according to the instructions given by the expert to the full time counterpart assistant. Complete data on management, thinning and final harvest should be collected for the final evaluation of the results.

Repetitions of the experiment, as demonstrated in the said farm, should be made in a few other ponds for confirmation of the results. As already stated in Section 2.62 the production obtained in one year is as high as 10 390 kg/ha and almost all the species stocked have reached about 1.0 kg in size. Since the major carps of comparable size are the prospective foreign exchange earnings in Burma, the observations should be repeated in other fish ponds so as to achieve higher production of marketable fish.

5.6 Expansion of area for fish culture

As stated earlier, the initial difficulties of shortage of stocking materials and complete lack of knowledge in fish culture have been overcome. The industry can now develop very rapidly, but the main difficulty still remaining is the availability of sufficient suitable land for fish culture. It is encouraging that the Government has given some consideration to this important problem recently. It is felt however that further relaxation may be necessary for acquisition of suitable land for fish culture. Since cultured fish is being exported and is a foreign exchange earner in addition to its role in human nutrition the fish farmers should be permitted to construct ponds for fish culture more liberally in lands also suitable for paddy culture. This would provide a big incentive toward the development of fish culture in Burma.

5.7 Survey and reclamation

A further survey of potentially cultivable waters should be made and reclamation of a water area suitable for pond fish culture should be taken up. As mentioned in Section 2.85 a drive may be given initially to reclaim the swampy areas and weed choked moats in the heart of the townships of Pegu, Toungoo and Mandalay. The cleared water areas should then be stocked with suitable species including grass carp for control of weeds. In addition to supplying fish to the public, these reclaimed areas would eliminate the unhygienic spots and add to the beauty of the towns. Royal Lake and Inya Lake in the City of Rangoon should be stocked with fish for fish production and also for public sport facilities (i.e. angling).

5.8 Stocking of reservoirs

With the surplus of stocking materials the Directorate of Fisheries was contemplating stocking of reservoirs. Many of the large and small reservoirs and others to be impounded may not have a good stock of economic and commercial species of fish. Therefore, before finalizing any programme of stocking, it is recommended that a scientific assessment should be made of the composition and extent of natural fish population and their efficiency value in those reservoirs.

5.9 Training and extension

In view of the shortage of trained scientific personnel, more staff should be sent abroad for training after ascertaining the immediate need and giving priority for such training.

Two technical staff with a background of chemistry should be recruited and granted fellowships for training in suitable foreign institutes for specialized training of six months or a year in water and soil chemistry. A few more staff should be sent to a foreign institute to undergo training in inland fisheries and fish farm management.

Since the Government intends to promote research on fish culture and has established a fish culture research laboratory at Hlawga Fish Culture Station, it is recommended that qualified staff should be sent abroad to gain experience in the planning and implementation of programmes on research, and to develop specific and technical knowledge, and concepts of fisheries research, so that the expert would be in a position to plan, implement and guide research work in the newly established research laboratory.

With the expansion of fish farming, there will be the necessity for the implementation of extension services. Its importance in playing an important role in the development of fish culture cannot be overemphasized. The extension workers should receive proper training on various aspects of fish farming and periodic refresher courses should be arranged for the extension staff to acquaint them with the latest technique and findings. More demonstration centres should be established in suitable areas. In fact a model farm-cum-demonstration centre should be established in every state.

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