The Fishery Department says it will issue licences for squid boats by the coming dry season.
The Myeik District squid producers' association requested the government this month to issue near-shore fishing licences fast so that the boats could run their business in time.
The Taninthayi Region fishery department started checking squid boats from August 29 and reported to the government.
Myint Shwe, deputy chief of the department, said: “The township-level department has rights to issue licences only for boats smaller than 30 feet and under 30 horsepower. We can’t license any boat bigger than that.”
The regional government told the department to scrutinise the boats beyond the authority of the township-level department, he added.
Squid boats usually stay at sea from October to April.
Boat owners said they needed licences or they could get arrested.
Squid-boat owner Than Oo said: “They didn’t license us in the past. We told them several times to regulate squid fishing and that we were happy to pay tax. Now we’ve applied for licences.”
Squid merchants said although the regional government had the right to license squid boats, it would not.
Myint Shwe added: “Generally the squid boats do not have licences. Some owners renovated their licensed boats and the engine power became stronger so that did not meet our standards. We issue licences to all the boats that meet our rules. There is no restriction. Now we have over 180 licence applicants.”
Merchants said the region hosted many boats and the fishery department should cooperate with administration officials in scrutinising squid boats.
Although the regional government can license, the process must await the approval of the central government.
Amendments to the fishing law were delayed at Parliament, said boatmen.
Translated by Nay Thiha