Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Anarchy and violence: the fishing lot system

Anarchy and violence: the fishing lot system

Anarchy and violence: the fishing lot system

THE fishing lot system, which covers the majority of Cambodia's most productive

freshwater fishing areas, is at the heart of the country's freshwater fisheries

management. This system was first established by French Protectorate authorities

in 1927 and was reintroduced by the Cambodian Government in 1988.

The

fishing lot system hinges on the public auction of lots that allows successful

bidders exclusive two-year fishing rights to prescribed areas.

Cambodia

currently has 279 private fishing lots totaling 8,529 square kilometers across

the Tonle Sap and Cambodia's other rivers. Many of these lots include flood

plains and forest areas that are important for fish breeding as well as for

irrigation by farmers during the dry season.

What's theoretically left to

the free use of the Cambodian public is an estimated 24,114 square kilometers of

rivers, ponds, lakes and wetlands.

The source of the conflict between

those who depend on public access fishing areas for their livelihood and the

owners of commercial fishing lots is the frequently close proximity of the two

areas and fishing lot owners' application of the principle of revenue

maximization.

This principle encourages the use of illegal technology

that affects the entire river system, both public and private.

That

illegal technology - including electrocution, the use of "catch-all" mosquito

netting rather than legal gill nets, and the pumping dry of recession ponds -

effectively "sweeps" areas around and downstream of fishing lots clear of fish,

to the detriment of local villagers.

In addition, fishing lot owners

routinely deny local people access to public fishing areas that lie next to

fishing lots, and restrict local people's use of water inside fishing lot areas

traditionally used to irrigate their crops.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the