Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Drought weighs on fishery production target

Drought weighs on fishery production target

Vendors at Phnom Penh’s Old Market prepare fish for sale yesterday afternoon.
Vendors at Phnom Penh’s Old Market prepare fish for sale yesterday afternoon. Pha Lina

Drought weighs on fishery production target

While Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries aims to increase fish production by 1.3 per cent this year, members of fishery organisations believe that is an unlikely target as drought conditions have tapped out natural resources.

According to ministry’s annual report issued last week, fresh water fish production declined by more than 3 per cent last year. With production amounting to 487,905 tonnes in 2015, the ministry aims to increase that number modestly to 494,000 tonnes this year.

The annual report emphasised that the main challenges facing production include the burning of flooded conservation forests and illegal fishing. However, Minh Bunly, program coordinator for the Fishery Action Coalition Team, said that the main concern was that drought conditions have caused persistently low water levels that have reduced vital breeding grounds.

According to him, 70 per cent of prime fishery conservation areas are facing unseasonably low water levels.

“Based on the current situation, there is no hope of increasing this year’s production,” he said.

“If the government does not address the current challenges, things will remain the same or get worse.”

However, Eng Chea San, director general for the fishery administration at the Ministry of Agriculture, said that a small 1.3 per cent increase was achievable despite the challenges.

“It is hard to increase production,” he admitted. “But what we can at the very least maintain the current level of production, with the possibility of achieving 1 per cent growth.”

However, Bunly believes that fish production faces a far harsher reality then what the ministry’s official figures suggest.

According to figures presented by the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology and used by the World Food Programme, low water levels have led to a loss of 17 per cent in last year’s fish production.

“I believe that 17 per cent is a more accurate number than what the ministry published in their annual report. The fishing conditions are a lot worse than a 3 per cent drop, and many resources are at risk,” said Bunly.

Hel Tony, secretariat of Tonle Sap Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, declined to comment on the figures as he had yet to see the report.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied