Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Myanmar group denies rumours of fish eating corpses in quake-devastated delta

YANGON (ST)- A MYANMAR government-affiliated group denied rumours that fish from cyclone-ravaged areas were unfit to eat after supposedly feeding on human and animals corpses, local media reported.

Since Cyclone Nargis slammed into Myanmar's Irrawaddy delta last month, some people in Yangon - the country's biggest city - have been reluctant to eat fish because of rumours they were feeding on the bodies of storm victims.

One rumour circulating was that some fish were found to have human fingers and pieces of jewellery in their stomachs.

'This is not true. We can guarantee that,' Toe Nandar Tin, an executive member of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation, told the Myanmar Times newspaper in an article published on Monday.

She said that the freshwater fish from the delta come from fish farms, not the rivers, and that samples of fish were tested to prove they were safe for consumption.

She also added that the rumours resulted in the suspension of orders by some foreign buyers, but she did not elaborate. The main buyers of Myanmar's fish include China, Thailand and Singapore.

The Myanmar Fisheries Federation is an organization representing the private sector, but it is affiliated with the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.

About 55 per cent of the fishing sector in the country was destroyed, including 2,000 small boats and 329 offshore fishing vessels, according to the Times, a weekly English-language newspaper affiliated with the government.

Massive waves from the cyclone also devastated 37,000 acres of shrimp farms and about 3,000 acres of fish farms, it said.

The cyclone killed more than 78,000 people and left another 56,000 missing in the impoverished country. -- AP

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