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Fishermen catch a rough deal

COASTAL fisherman claim that their yields have dropped by 20 to 30 percent, compared to the 1990s, following an increase in working fishermen and the destruction of natural marine habitats such as mangroves.

Soem Hoem, fisherman and president of the Trapaing Sangke Fishing Community in Kampot province, said at a meeting on fishery resources in the capital on Wednesday that the number of fishermen had increased while the size of  fishing areas did not vary. “I have no supplemental career or farmland,” he said.

Kiang Khim, deputy director of the Fisheries Administration at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said that fish production had totalled 85,000 tonnes last year.

“[The number of] fishermen increases every year, leading the fishermen’s yield to decrease – but total production is unchanged,” she said.

Fishing yields had decreased as habitats were destroyed and people used illegal fishing equipment, Srey Nuo Chhay, chief of Koh Kchong Fishery Community in Koh Kong province, said.

Thay Somuny, coordinator of the National Project on Living on Fishery Resources funded by the Spanish government, said that supplemental careers should be created for fishermen.

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