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

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Scholarship winner tells secrets to success

    Chhim Chaknineath was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for one year of postgraduate study in the UK for the academic year 2022-2023 along with a group of 10 other outstanding students who applied. She spent more than a year researching and studying – as well as consulting with