Fisheries and Socio-Economic Change in the Thanlwin River Estuary in Mon and Kayin State, Myanmar

Professor Cherry Aung3

3Pathein University , , Myanmar

The Thanlwin or ‘Salween’ River Estuary is well-known in Myanmar for its rich fishery and wide range of fishes. This presentation focuses on community fishery livelihoods in this estuary, exploring the transformation of riparian communities in Mon and Kayin State, as linked to both local and global transformations. The research was conducted through interviews, focus groups, and household surveys across four villages located in the estuary over the period of 2015–2016, and investigates changes to fishers and livelihoods over a ten-year period beginning in 2005. The author presents evidence of fisheries decline and the associated overfishing and environmental changes that have impacted fish habitat and species in the estuary. The author also examines the socio-economic differentiation linked to fishing and other events in the estuary. The presentation includes recommendations for improved management and further research.


Professor Cherry Aung is Head of the Department of Marine Science at Pathein University, Myanmar. Prior to moving to Pathein University’s Marine Science Department (one of only three in Myanmar), she also worked at the Department of Marine Science at Mawlamyaine University, at the mouth of the Salween River. Professor Cherry Aung’s research interests include socio-economy of fisheries, sedimentation in the Irrawaddy Delta, and coastal resources like mangroves and corals.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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