Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prahok fish yields up, but smaller size to affect output

Prahok fish yields up, but smaller size to affect output

People clean and sort freshly caught fish that will be used to make prahok yesterday afternoon on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
People clean and sort freshly caught fish that will be used to make prahok yesterday afternoon on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Prahok fish yields up, but smaller size to affect output

With the onset of the fishing season for the Cambodian fermented fish condiment prahok, an Agriculture Ministry official said yesterday that fish yields this year have increased compared to 2014, but traders say most of the catch so far is too small to use for making the fish paste.

Eang Sophallet, spokesperson for the Agriculture Ministry, said the ministry does not have exact yield numbers yet, but that the increase in yields of trey riel, the fish used to make the condiment, was a result of a crackdown on illegal fishing in the Tonle Sap lake and Mekong River.

“We cracked down on illegal fishing, which is why we are getting bigger yields this season,” Sophallet said.

According to Sophallet, fishermen have been able to catch around six tonnes of fish an hour, which he said was highest he has seen in the last few years.

Hok Pring, a semi-processed prahok producer in Siem Reap province, said that despite an increase in yield this season, the fish are too small to make prahok and can only be used as feed for other fish and crocodiles.

She added that she has been able to buy only half the amount of fish this season, as compared to last year, with the price increasing marginally to 2,000 riel ($0.50) per kilogram of fish, which has been cut and scaled.

“I bought around 10 tonnes of prahok fish this year, whereas last year I could buy around 20 tonnes,” Pring said.

Chan Chhoen, a fish trader in Kampong Loung, a community of floating villages on the Tonle Sap, said that the low levels of water in the river have led to this year’s catch being too small in size to use for prahok production.

“I used to collect around 60 tonnes of fish last year, but this year I have collected only 20 tonnes,” he said. “There are too many small fish that cannot be used to make Prahok.”

Chhoen added that for every 1 tonne of catch, only 200 kilograms of the fish could be used for prahok production.

The low level of water in the Tonle Sap have changed the natural conditions in which the fish grow, making them smaller than usual, according to Minh Bunly, a program coordinator at the Fishery Action Coalition Team.

“The low level of the Tonle Sap also means the fish cannot reach flooded forests, where they can grow to a bigger size,” he said, adding that the flooded forests around the lake provides a natural habitat and food supply for the fish.


  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from