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Fish exports fall in plan to increase production

Cambodia's fish exports decreased 14 per cent in 2011, although total export revenues rose about 50 per cent on higher market prices, according to a government official.

Nao Thouk, director of the Fisheries Administration at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said yesterday fish exports in 2011 had totalled about 30,000 tonnes, a drop from 35,000 tonnes in 2010.

Despite this, export revenues rose to US$60 million from $40 million in 2010, he said.

Increased export prices fetched in high-demand international markets had resulted in a jump in revenues, Nao Thouk said.

The average price for exported fish in 2011 was $2,000 a tonne, compared to $1,143 a tonne in 2010, he said.   

Nao Thouk pointed to the government’s greater emphasis on producing fish for the domestic market as the reason for the drop in total exports.

“Our fish exports in 2011 were lower, but that does not mean the fish population went down. The quantity of fish in 2011 increased from last year, but we wanted to keep fish to support local people,” he said.

The quantity of  natural and harvested fish last year was about 600,000 tonnes, compared to about 550,000 tonnes in 2010, Nao Thouk said.

Since August, the government has confiscated lots from commercial fishermen around Tonle Sap and in Kampong Cham, Prey Veng and Takeo provinces to increase fish supplies for domestic consumption.

Lov Hoeng, a small-scale fisherman from Kandal province’s Koh Thom district, said the quantity of fish in his private lot had increased by 30 per cent last year as a result of this initiative.

“We saw that the quantity of fish increased because the government blocked fishing lots around Tonle Sap    . . . [and] fisheries officials cracked down on illegal fishing,” he said.

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