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Fishermen seek reform of conservation rules

FISHERMEN from across Cambodia plan to petition the government to reform the Kingdom’s fishing regulations and help preserve fish stocks, following a season that saw 60 people arrested on illegal-fishing charges.

In a workshop to be held in Kratie province today, fishermen and community representatives will aim to draft a declaration to redetermine the regulation size for holes in fishing nets.

Fishermen are requesting larger holes (2.5 cm square versus 1.5 cm square), which they say will remove fewer fish and sustain fishing populations.

The event has been organised by the Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT) and the government’s Fisheries Administration.

Om Savath, programme manager of FACT, said Thursday that the forum will give fishermen and the opportunity to air their everyday concerns to government officials.

About 150 fishermen across the nation are expected to attend, with the majority being fishermen coming from areas near the Tonle Sap Lake.

“We need the government to allow us to catch some fish in the off-season because we have no land for agriculture as other people do,” said Ke Sochiv, a fisherman from Kampong Chhnang province.

“I expect the government will approve the draft declaration soon with input directly from the fishermen,” Om Savath said.

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