The important role of fish in Cambodia's society and economy has been celebrated at a ceremony in Kampong Chhnang province.
About 500,000 fish were released at Boeng Knar lake in Samki Meanchey district July 1 in a ceremony organized by the government to celebrate National Fish Day.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Chan Sarun, who was representing Prime Minister Hun Sen, said the day had been organized for the past five years to promote awareness of the need to protect and conserve fish.
“Cambodia is a small country but since 2000 it has been ranked fourth in the world in inland fish production, after China, India and Bangladesh,” Sarun told hundreds of participants at the event.
He said official figures showed that Cambodians consume an average of 37.5 kilograms of fish a year, well over twice the global consumption average of 15.8 kilograms a year.
Sarun said fish are a major source of nutrition in the Cambodian diet, in which they account for more than 75 percent of the total animal proteins.
Nao Thuok, chief of fisheries administration, told the Post that during the fishing season in late 2007 and early 2008, the national catch totaled about 473,760 tonnes of fresh water, marine and aquaculture fish.
Thuok said illegal fishing had declined since the National Assembly enacted a law in March 30, 2006, to protect and preserve freshwater and marine fish species.
Illegal fishing in the first six months this year was down about 30 percent over the same period in 2007, he said.
“We have cracked down on 3,216 cases of illegal fishing and about 60 offenders have been jailed," he said. "We have promoted the law on fisheries throughout the nation and most people who rely on fishing to make a living understand it."
Previous National Fish Day events were held in Kampong Speu, Kandal, Prey Veng, Sihanoukville and Takeo provinces.