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Fishery Administration officials burn electronic fishing nets and devices
Fishery Administration officials burn electronic fishing nets and devices yesterday in Kampong Chhnang after they were collected during a crackdown on illegal fishing equipment. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Illegal tools of fishing trade go up in smoke

Fishery Administration officials in Kampong Chhnang province burned nearly 1,000 electric fishing nets and other devices yesterday morning in a ceremony capping off a provincial crackdown on illegal fishing equipment.

Some 300 people joined the deputy provincial governor and fishing authorities in Kampong Chhnang town’s Phsar Chhnang commune, as they set alight 928 items. Of those, 762 were turned over voluntarily by villagers while the rest were seized, provincial Fishery Administration director Som Phirun said.

“The agreement of the community members to hand over their electric fishing devices to the authorities is another victory for all of us in eliminating fishery crimes from the national framework,” Phirun said. “The sustainability of our fishery resources can be guaranteed.”

In the first three months of this year, his office has shut down 59 illegal fishing operations, and seized 1,000 metres of electric fishing net, 20 other electric devices and 100 illegal bamboo traps, Phirun said. Eight people have been arrested and sent to court for fishing-related offences.

Efforts to eliminate unlawful fishing practices have been positive overall, Phirun said. Villagers who fish have been encouraged to educate themselves on what methods of fishing are legal.

However, he added, future infractions will be punished, with offenders facing possible jail time and heavy fines.

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