THIS year’s harvest of prahok is expected to increase by 20 percent compared with last year, officials at the Fisheries Administration said Monday.
Last year, Cambodian fishermen caught more than 12,000 tonnes of fish used to make prahok – a crushed, salted and fermented fish paste that is a staple of the Cambodian diet. They are expected to reel in up to 15,000 tonnes of fish in the 2009-10 season, said Fisheries Administration Director Nao Thuok. The prahok fishing season began last week and runs until late January.
Nao Thuok said that during the annual fishing ban, which runs from June until October, the administration created 280 fish shelters and released millions of baby fish into the country’s natural lakes and rivers. There was also a crackdown on illegal fishing, during which 1.5 million illegal fishnets were destroyed.
Despite Nao Thuok’s optimism, local fishermen said inclement weather could end up reducing the amount of available fish this year.
Ou Noun, a 67-year-old fisherman in Russey Keo district’s Prek Tasek commune, told the Post that until now he had been unable to catch fish because of the overcast cool season, and that shortages had driven up the price.
“Until Tuesday, I sold fish for the making of prahok for 2,500 riels [about US$0.60] per kilogram,” he said, noting that commercial fishing had driven the local price up from last year’s asking price of between 1,200 and 1,500 riels.
Nao Thuok also urged farmers to stock up on prahok and smoked fish to reserve for times when they expect to be busy with other agricultural activities.