A crowd of over 60,000 people took part in a traditional fishing ceremony on February 18 at Boeung Kroam Lake in Satum village of Choam Krovean commune in Memot district of Tbong Khmum province.

The annual ceremony is held every February to preserve an ancient cultural practice. The February 18 event ended with a large haul of fish was caught.

Tbong Khmum provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Heng Piseth said on February 19 that many people who came in a family managed to catch 15kg-25kg of fish.

He said that tens of thousands of people had come from all directions to Boeung Kroam Lake that day, some of them to catch fish and others just to watch and enjoy a day at the lake.

Prior to the event, the authorities announced to the crowd that all were welcome to participate.

“Catching fish in the lake is a traditional custom in this area. With the purposes of spreading this event to those who live far away, the provincial governor informed those who want to catch fish to attend the event and enjoy it because the lake does not belong to anyone,” Piseth said.

Piseth also said that to ensure they have enough fish for next year’s event, in June officials from the provincial Department of Fisheries will release around 10,000 fingerlings into the lake.

Choam Krovean commune chief Ouch Yoeun said that of the more 60,000 people only around 3,000 people had gone down to catch fish.

“Of the 3,000 people, some caught up to 10 kg of fish, some others 20 kg and the most was 25 kg,” he added.

He continued that at the event they had used bamboo baskets to scoop up fish and some other people just caught them with their bare hands. The event took place for only one day. Later in the year the lake will be guarded to make sure that the fish can spawn until the rainy season.

Tbong Khmum provincial governor Cheam Chan Sophorn said that this year’s number of participants was higher than that of the past year. The more than 60,000 participants came from Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng provinces and Phnom Penh, and he said they showed fraternity, solidarity, love, morality and good manners.