The need for long-term sustenance of the coral reefs, and continuous and active fish breeding grounds has attracted employment of conservatory and management tools: Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA), encircling the coral waters of the Myeik Archipelago of Myanmar.
In the pursuit to protect the coral reefs, its sensitive natural habitats, rich marine biodiversity and the mangrove nestled coastline in the interest of local community’s livelihood, the 800 islands comprising the Myeik Archipelago have been identified as the first fish conservation zone.
Mr. U Khin Maung Maw, Director General of the Fisheries Department, stated that the coral reefs abounding the Myeik Archipelago will be the first locally managed marine conservation area in the country.
The local community’s dwellings around the archipelago depend on fishery as their main economic activity. However, with the emplacement of LMMA, and with the subsequent goal of sustainable fishery, a zoning system has been adopted wherein only the fishes that have attained maturity shall be caught and coral areas will be rendered a no-fishing zone.
This has been put to practice due to the depletion of marine resources owing to exhaustive and illegal methods of fishing, excessive use of dynamite, and other devastating and destructive means, which have also injured the health and productivity of the marine ecosystem.
U Zaw Lunn, Marine Biologist at Fauna and Flora International (FFI) said, “The coral reefs are a natural habitat of marine creatures and the destruction of the coral area will result in the destruction of the natural habitat and breeding ground of marine life.”
Thereby, it is imperative that strict vigilance and attention is devoted to the health of the coral structures, for it enables the fishes to keep spawning which, in effect, forms a protective layer for itself too.