The Kingdom’s fish exports declined 48 per cent in the first nine months of 2011, as a result of growing local demand, according to Ministry of Commerce figures.
The statistics showed that Cambodia’s export of fish totalled 1,099 tonnes from January to September, compared to 2,123 tonnes in the same period last year.
The drop in exports was a result of higher local demand, according to Noa Thouk, head of Cambodia’s Fisheries Administration.
“The competition from local demand is more important than exporting fish,” he said, adding that Cambodia’s fish demand is usually between 500,000 to 600,000 tonnes per year.
A clampdown on illegal fishing and the recent widespread flooding will lead to an estimated 20 per cent increase in exports during the coming fishing season, Noa Thouk added. However, illegal fishing remains a major issue, with the number of cases growing since 2005, according to Oum Savat, executive director of League for Fish Conservation.
“While working directly in the fish sector we have seen the natural fish output fall.”
He added that while illegal fishing continues, there have been some positive signs within the industry.
“Thirty-five private fish lots have been closed and illegal fishing and clearing of forests for fishing have both been reduced.”
Some local farmers also noted an increase in production in the first nine months of the year.
In previous years the number of fish farmed dropped, due to illegal fishing, but this is improving now, according to Nit Sakhorn, chief of the fishing community in Chompor village, Seim Reap province.