Exports of Cambodian fish and shellfish products reached 1,618 tonnes last year, worth $3.5 million, a 16 per cent increase from 1,391 tonnes in 2011, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce.
“A major share of the total exports last year was from saltwater fish species and some other processing products,” said Khuon Savuth, director of the Camcontrol department at the Ministry of Commerce.
According to Savuth, lobster, oyster, prawn, crab and freshwater fish products were mostly exported to Hong Kong. Other destinations were ASEAN region countries and Japan.
According to the data, early and middle parts of the year were the peak times for exports.
In January and February last year Cambodia exported 591 tonnes of fish products, about 36 per cent of the total sold overseas.
Exports slowed after March until they rose again in July and August, reaching 722 tonnes.
In the first 11 months of last year, Cambodia caught 381,200 tonnes of freshwater fish, nearly a 29 per cent increase from the 296,000 tonnes caught in the same period in 2011.
Om Savath, executive director of Cambodia’s Fish Action Coalition Team, questioned the ministry’s numbers, saying the 2012’s freshwater fish yield was unlikely to eclipse 2011 because of environmental changes, an increase in illegal fishing and a water level about 2.7 metres lower than in 2011.
But he said the ministry’s data might include the production figures for the Kingdom’s aquaculture industry, which he believes is on the rise.
“Freshwater fish yield might be below or possibly at the same level as production in 2011. I do not think it could increase,” Om Savath said.
“When the level of water is low, the water gets dirty and doesn’t flow to areas where fish can reproduce.”