While fish farmers normally wait to harvest their fish until monsoon season from June until October, they are harvesting their fish now in fear that they will die from the heat or parasites, reports the MyanmarTimes.
The most common parasite affecting fish farms is dactylogyrus, a flatworm known to inhabit fish gills, the Myanmar Fish Farmer Association said.
The parasite is temperature dependent: Hotter water temperatures increase the parasite’s life cycle from only a few days to five or six months. Anti-parasitic medicine can be bought from China or Thailand and costs about K250,000 (about US$290).
“Fish farmers who did not use medicine for parasites face higher losses. I used the medicine after suffering about K300,000 (about US$350) in losses when my fish died,” U Soe Tint, the Association’s vice chairman, told The Myanmar Times.
U Than Lwin, chairman of the Association, said that throughout his 10 fish pools, each comprising 10 acres, four or five fish will die in a pool on a hot day.
“I want to advise fish farmers that if fish are dying in their pools, they should take a sample of one fish to a laboratory and have it tested at Thaketa township in Yangon. The results of the test will give evidence as to what kind of parasite has infected the fish and will indicate what medicine to use,” he told the newspaper.
U Than Lwin said that this is common in April and May as the heat rises, but an uncommon phenomenon to occur as early as February and March. It is likely to be due to climate change.
“Fish farmers can plant trees around their pools to help provide shade and oxygen, and must give their fish medicine in time,” he said.