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Military police stand next to seized illegal fishing nets in Kandal province on Tuesday before destroying them. GRK

Ministry says fisheries crime down

A report from the Ministry of Agriculture showed a drop in the number of illegal fishing cases for 2016, though the Kingdom could see an uptick this year following Interior Minister Sar Kheng’s directive to renew efforts to crack down on these activities.

The annual report shows 3,650 cases of illegal fishing last year, compared to the 3,974 instances in 2015. Fisheries officials also seized 1.2 million metres of nets last year and 388 tools used for electric fishing.

Most cases were logged along Cambodia’s rivers, with only 176 incidents at sea. Yuth Pothong, a ministry secretary of state, said in the report that the ministry was in the process of improving its capacity to crackdown on such crimes.

“The ministry will continue the crackdown of illegal fishing for 2017,” he said. “It will have effective results to protect natural resources.”

Kheng earlier this month said he planned to use speedboats and a helicopter to patrol the Tonle Sap lake because fishermen who had been warned before were continuing their illegal fishing activities there.

Pursat fisherman Sous Pheak complained the crackdown was even affecting his family’s ability to catch fish for personal consumption.

Separately, two fishermen were injured yesterday in Oddar Meanchey’s Chongkal district after a homemade bomb exploded while one of them was holding it.

Boeu Oeu, district police chief, said the two had made the bomb for fishing and when Chhuon Phal, who lost his hand, tried to light the fuse, it exploded prematurely. Fellow fisherman Horth Pring only received minor injuries.

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