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Ban imposed on commercial fishing to replenish stocks

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090602_03.jpg

Officials say they are optimistic that the ban in selected provinces will improve Kingdom’s fish stocks next year

Photo by: TRACEY SHELTON

Women collect fish in Kampot province earlier this year.

THE Fisheries Administration has announced the end of the fishing season and a four-month ban on commercial fishing to allow fish stocks time to replenish.

"The closure takes place because from [Monday] onwards, about 90 percent of fish start breeding," Nao Thouk, director of the Fisheries Administration, told the Post on Monday.

"We will end large-scale fishing and we will only allow small-scale subsistence fishing so that families are able to eat."

The fishing season ends Monday for provinces located north of Chaktomuk river, including Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang, Preah Vihear, Kratie and Stung Treng. Provinces located south of Chaktomuk, including Kandal and Takeo, will have to stop commercial fishing from July 1.

Tat El, chief of Koh Dach commune in Kandal province, said in his commune fishing has already been scaled back due to a lack of fish this season.

However, Nao Thouk anticipated an increase in fish yield - possibly up to 400,000 tonnes, from 370,000 last year - when fishing restarted after the ban, saying that he had observed early fish breeding and an apparent increase in the number of baby fish. He attributed the increase to a zealous crackdown on illegal fishing last year, which saw his administration take action against some 1,000 instances of abuse.

Last year, the Kingdom exported approximately 30,000-40,000 tonnes of fish, according to government data.

"This year, even though we expect that there will be an increase in fish yield, we plan to export only about 20,000 tonnes of fish," he said, adding this would allow stocks to replenish long term.

Nao Thouk said there are about 165 breeding grounds across Cambodia.

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