GOVERNMENT claims that the fishing
industry has shown steady growth because of aquaculture has drawn
criticism from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.
director general of the Cambodian Fisheries Administration, speaking
last week at a workshop attended by local and provincial officials,
said Cambodia's fishing industry output has increased 18 percent
"About 35,000 tonnes of fish, including 5,000
tonnes of non-farmed fish, were caught last year, and that number is
expected to reach 40,000 this year because of more reliance on
aquaculture practices," he said.
But SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann called the figures "distorted".
increased output of fish exists only on paper," he told the Post last
week. "In practical terms, fishing resources are getting poorer and
poorer due to rampant illegal fishing in collusion with corrupt
Nao Thuok admitted Cambodia still lags
far behind regional neighbours in total tonnage of fish caught
annually. Vietnam processes about 2 million tonnes each year. That
number is 600,000 in Thailand and 60,000 in Laos.
He said fish provide as much as 75 percent of the protein intake of all Cambodians, who eat about 50 kg individually each year.
With a population of approximately 14 million, Cambodia needs about 700,000 tonnes of fish annually.
government is encouraging greater investment in fisheries and
aquaculture to ensure the sustainability of the sector," Nao Thuok said.
a growing domestic need, Cambodia exports fish throughout the region,
including to Australia, Hong Kong, and the United States.
"Some 20,000 tonnes are exported every year, at a value of about US$40 million," he said.
Aeschliman, director of USAID's governance and democracy office in
Cambodia, said aquaculture could contribute to economic growth, adding
the organisation currently assists nearly 500 aquaculture farmers.
Yim Sovann said he sees the situation differently.
already know that our fishing resources are nearly gone," he said. "Law
enforcement and greater transparency are the things that will better
develop the [fishing] sector."