AN oversupply of eels destined for the Chinese market is causing
prices to fall, an official from the country’s main fishery
export association warned on July 24.
U Soe Tun Shein, chairman of the Myanmar Fishery Products Processors
and Exporters Association (MFPEA), said there were too many eels
being offered at auctions at the Shan State border town of Muse,
where Chinese traders come to buy fish.
“Current demand for eels at Muse is about 40 tonnes a
day, but there are about 50 to 60 tonnes of eels arriving at the
market every day,” U Soe Tun Shein said at a weekly gathering
of fishery sector leaders in Yangon.
“If the market is flooded, it’s likely the price
for eel will decrease,” he said.
The current floor price for eel at Muse’s state-run auction
house is US$2000 per tonne. While this is set by the Department
of Fisheries, the department’s director, U Khin Ko Lay,
admitted last week that prices for eel on the open-market were
currently below the auction’s starting rate, at $1700-$1800
The fall in price has been blamed on oversupply but traders
say it may be difficult to stem the flow of eels into Muse because
there is an abundance of the fish at this time of year.
“We can catch a lot of eels at this time of year so it’s
only natural that we send our catch to the market as soon as possible
while they’re still alive,” one eel trader said at
the meeting last week.
In response to the plentiful supplies, the MFPEA on July 24
submitted a proposal to the Department of Fisheries requesting
a reduction in the Muse auction floor price at times of increased
Should more than 40 tonnes of eel be available at the auction,
the floor price should be lowered to $1700 per tonne, according
to the association’s proposal.
Most eel traders are believed to favour a reduction in the floor
price rather than a cap on the quantity of eel offered.
U Soe Tun Shein noted that even at 40 tonnes per day, eel sales
would be a fifth higher than in 2006-07, when 1000 tonnes were
exported each month.
According to figures from the Department of Fisheries, eel exports
had earned $5.1 million up to July 21, less than 15 percent of
their $35-million target almost a third of the way through the
Myanmar earned $18.95 million from 6856 tonnes of eel exports
in 2006-07, official figures show.