US Aid Grant Announced

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US Aid Grant Announced


The University of Arizona has been awarded a $1,729,000 grant from USAID to serve as the implementing partner for “Developing a Sustainable Seafood Industry Infrastructure in Burma (Myanmar)”. The project, starting in October 2014 and running for three years, is a partnership between University of Arizona and Yangon and Pathein Universities in Myanmar and the Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF). The MFF represents most of the private sector fishing, aquaculture and seafood processing enterprises in Burma, which is one of the top ten seafood producers and consumers in the world with extensive marine fisheries and aquaculture industries. The Burmese people consume, per capita, 4 times the amount of seafood as Americans. International partners on the project will include DuPont, RippleFish, Tiran Group, Handy Seafood, Auburn University, Asian Institute of Technology, Relief International, and Aquaculture without Frontiers (AwF).

Myanmar will be joining the Southeast Asia Free Trade Zone in 2016 and the seafood industry must quickly catch-up to its Vietnamese, Thai and Malaysian partners who have heavily invested in all aspects of the seafood industry in recent years. Improving human and physical capacity will be critical to eventual success. 

A major objective of the project will be to develop a seafood safety laboratory at Yangon University. The lab will operate as both a service lab for the industry and a training lab for university students and adult learning for processing plants needing to set up quality assurance labs for export purposes. The project will also work directly with fishers and farmers to improve product quality from the boat or pond, through the value chain to the ultimate consumer. Other important aspects will be to work on crab, shrimp, and fish hatcheries and nurseries, on-farm sanitation, an aquaculture-seafood business dictionary, nutrition and aquaculture feed technology, mangrove restoration, and scholarships and internships.

AwF has been involved in one early objective for the project when we worked with Tiran Group in Israel, the University of Arizona and MFF to transfer an aquaculture library donated by renowned Israeli scientist, Gideon Hulata, to Myanmar at MFF headquarters – to be dedicated early in 2015.

Scholarships for students to study aquaculture and fisheries will be available at the Asian Institute of Technology and Yangon and Pathein Universities in coming semesters. Student internships will be supported by the project, paying for half the stipend and the private sector partners (Burmese and international) paying the other half. These internships will provide critical “first professional positions” for many Burmese students.

For additional information please contact Kevin Fitzsimmons, the project principal investigator ( and U Soe Tun (, the Chief of Party in Burma.