Home Insider Insider Review Visiting the Tsukiji of Myanmar

Visiting the Tsukiji of Myanmar

The logistics costs and the price of ice affect the price of fish being sold at the biggest fish market in Myanmar (analogous to Tsukiji of Tokyo, Japan). Thiri Mingalar Fish Market is located in Kyi Myint Taing Township of Yangon. There are altogether 146  fish  wholesalers  with  eight  ice  wholesalers within  the  market.  Everyday,  there  are  nearly 100,000  people  moving  about  in  this  market, including sellers, workers, logistics personnel, porters, koolees and buyers from across the country. The increase in the price of diesel is directly affecting  the  two  most  important  determinants of the wholesale price of fishes there. The fishes once caught in Ayeyarwaddy, Rakhine, Mon and Tanintharyi  regions  are  transported  by  boats  or barges to this market. Cost of transport is going up. The fishes have to be iced continuously to keep them  from  going  stale.  Making  ice  needs  power supply  and  with  intermittent  rationed  supply  of electricity across the country, the cost of making ice is going up. Hence, the wholesale price of fish is going up between 1,000 – 2,000 Kyats per viss. (1 viss ~ 1.62 kg)

Obviously, the price of fishes is determined by the supply of fishes too. The numbers and the varieties caught vary depending on the season. MI interviewed the person in charge of  delivery the fishes from the market to locations across the country, Kyaw Thu and the supervising manager of Thiri Mingalar Market, Maung Maung Than.

Q: Whats the current situation on fish deliveries to regions outside of Yangon?

Prices are going up. In general, the fish prices are going up starting from the fishermen as their cost of living is going up in their regions. Diesel price increase is causing higher transport charges. Power cuts are pushing up the price of ice. We added these three together to calculate the final cost of sending the fishes to outer regions.

In general, the foam box that can carry about 60 viss, the price now is about 3,000 Kyats higher at wholesale level. Normally all the fishes incoming into the market, approximately 300,000 viss, got sold out by day end everyday.

Right now, we are sending to all regions and states everyday. Most of the fishes sent out are from fish farms. There is no exporting of fish from here. Apparently, our domestic fish prices are higher than the export prices.

Q: What difficulties do you face on outbound deliveries?

I think it is the cashflow. For example, we send fishes to Kayah State. Because of terrorist activities there, we are unable to get payment on some of the shipments. We will stop sending to those from whom we cannot get the payment. Yet, this market is the only place from where the regions can have a steady and reliable supply of fish meat.

Q: What about the sea fishes volume?

Compared to last year, incoming volume of sea fishes is lower. Average volume is around 100,000 viss per day of sea fishes. May be this is the low season in terms of number of fishes caught at sea. The price of sea fishes is not as dependent on the logistics or ice costs, as farm or fresh water fishes. Their price is more correlated to the supply I.e., the numbers caught.

From May to August, it set breeding season for fishes at sea. So the government would stop the license to fish during these four months. Wholesalers would store some sea fishes caught now in commercial freezers and resell them during these months. But with the power cuts, the price of these fishes are likely to go up in the upcoming months.

Q: How about fish farms and fresh water fishes?

Daily entry is roughly 200,000 viss. The prices of these fishes are going up too. If you are the owner of fish farms, you would be happy. The demand is exceeding supply at this point. Some of these farms also directly export to the Middle East regions.

Q: What about people’s preference on fishes?

Fishes from fish farms are the cheapest, followed by fresh water fishes and lastly by fishes caught at sea. So the demand is highest for fish farm fishes, retailing at 5,000 Kyats per viss. Fresh water fish price averages at 20,000 Kyats per viss.

Q: How about the supply of fresh water fishes and prawns?

This time the supply is low. Normally peak seasons are in September and October. For prawns, most of them are coming from farms at present. Sometimes we even have prawns from Thailand coming into the market.

Q: What the advantage Thiri Mingalar Market has as a fish wholesale market?

It is in the commercial hub of Yangon, with plenty of car parking spaces. The market itself has six entrances. The market has a large jetty, for the parking of incoming boats. The biggest fish wholesalers are here too. The whole country demand is coming to here.