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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Illegal fishing arrests down from last year

Authorities burn a pile of fishing nets in Kandal province earlier this week after they were seized for illegal use. Photo supplied
Authorities burn a pile of fishing nets in Kandal province earlier this week after they were seized for illegal use. Photo supplied

Illegal fishing arrests down from last year

Cambodian authorities have caught fewer illegal fishermen so far this year compared to 2015, which fishery officials ascribed to a combination of delayed rains and heightened law-abiding.

Hong Hy, director of the administration and legislation department of the Fisheries Administration, said the authorities recorded 2,541 cases of illegal fishing across the Kingdom between January and September this year, yet made only 118 arrests.

“From the 118 suspects, 56 people were sentenced to between one month and three years in prison,” he said, adding that the courts had released the rest on bail. “The Fisheries Administration released 71.42 tonnes of small fish, seized in the crime crackdown, back to the river,” he said. “And we sent 166.6 million riel [$40,663] obtained from fines into the state’s budget.”

More than 270 electro-fishing devices were confiscated, while more than 800,000 metres of illegal fishing nets were burned.

The figures show there were 203 fewer cases and six fewer arrests compared to the same period last year. They also reveal the vast majority of perpetrators managed to evade police.

“The decline was caused by regular crackdowns, the slower process of the level of water rising . . . compared to last year and the fishermen understanding more about law, especially because the fines frighten them into not committing the crime again,” he said.

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