SIEM REAP PROVINCE
AROUND 50 villagers representing 189 families in Siem Reap’s Chong Khneas commune gathered at the provincial hall on Monday to protest the destruction of their fishing nets by local officials, and to request permission to use nets with finer meshing than current rules allow.
Rath Nora, one of the protesters, said Fisheries Department officials had recently destroyed many nets used by the villagers because the meshing was finer than 4 centimetres.
“We came today to plead to officials to allow us to fish by using 2-centimetre or 2.5-centimetre nets, because we cannot fish enough to supply our families with food otherwise,” he said.
Fellow fisherman Hab Da, 43, said: “Fisheries officials have completely destroyed the nets, and villagers have no rice.”
But Tim Savuth, director of the provincial Fisheries Department, said the 4-centimetre rule was absolute, and that oversize nets would also be destroyed.