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Ministry plans tough law to save dolphins

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An Irrawaddy dolphin frolics in the Mekong River in Kratie province.

Legislation aimed at saving Cambodia’s population of endangered Irrawaddy dolphins is being developed by officials at the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries.

Nao Thuok, deputy director of the ministry’s Department of Fisheries, said officials had met on Sunday and Monday in Stung Treng and Kratie provinces to consult with local experts on how to best protect the dwindling numbers.

“The draft sub-decree on the protection of dolphins will give  local authorities the power to take effective measures to save dolphins from being stuck in fishing nets,” he said.  

A sub-decree would hopefully be sent to the Council of Ministers by October or Nov-ember, Nao Thuok said.

He hoped the legislation would help experts save about 10 dolphins from unnecessary deaths each year.

Run Pheara, acting director of the Kratie provincial tourism department, who consulted officials on the draft sub-decree, said he welcomed detailed protection regulations.

“I think  stable conservation of dolphins as an endangered species would be very important for eco-tourism and would attract more tourists to the sites,” Run Pheara said.

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