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Fishing official preaches prahok

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Women make prahok near the Tonle Sap river in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district yesterday.

An abundance of fish have caused nets to overflow, prices to drop and a fisheries official to urge residents to make a whole lot of prahok.

Nao Thouk, director of fisheries administration at the Ministry of Forestry and Fisheries, told the Post yesterday that nets were overflowing along the country’s big rivers and it was a good opportunity for people who wanted to make prahok and phaak and to smoke fish to support the fishing community.

“Some fish net owners have decided to release fish because no one has been buying them to make prahok,” he said.

Traditionally, a lot of fish were caught during the first week of January, but the going price was about half what it was this time last year because government officers and the fishing community had cracked down on illegal fishing and released baby fish into rivers, he said.

“Today’s fish price in the Kampong Luong area costs from about 500 riel to 600 riel (US12-15 cents) for 1 kilogram,” he said yesterday from Kandal province’s Punhea Leu district.

Meanwhile, farmers and Prahok businessmen in provinces such as Kampong Speu, Takeo and Svay Rieng gathered to produce prahok along the Tonle Sap and Basac rivers in Phnom Penh yesterday.

Prak Koeun, 38, from Takeo province, said that every year he set aside between 6 and 7 million riel ($1,500-$1,750) to come to Phnom Penh to make prahok he could exchange for rice or milled rice with his local farmers.

“This year, I am likely to make almost twice as much prahok as I did last year,” he said.

“Last year, 1 kilogram was between 1,300 riel and 1,600 riel (35-40 cents), but this year, 1 kilogram costs only 900 riel to 1,000 riel,” he said.

Srey Keo Maly, 57, from Svay Rieng town in Svay Rieng province, said the fish were bigger and better than last year.

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