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Authorities intervene to end fish farm deaths in Kampong Chhnang

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According to the authorities, nearly 400 tonnes of fish had died in the past week. FACEBOOK

Authorities intervene to end fish farm deaths in Kampong Chhnang

The dire situation of farmed fish dying in their enclosures in the Tonle Sap River near Kampong Chhnang town improved on April 6, as fisheries officials and local authorities worked to tow the cages into deeper water and pump oxygen into the enclosures to help them breathe.

Ly La, director of the Fisheries Administration’s (FiA) Kampong Chhnang provincial cantonment, told The Post that nearly 400 tonnes of fish had died in the past week. The fish belonged to more than 100 families in Khsam commune of Kampong Chhnang town.

He explained that the fish had perished due to unseasonably high temperatures and low water levels, which had led to a reduction in oxygen levels in the river.

“This occurs at this time of year, but it is not usually as severe. Most of the dead specimens were marketable species like helicopter catfish [Wallago attu], Asian red tailed catfish [Hemibagrus wyckioides], Hoven’s carp [Leptobarbus hoevenii], or [Osteochilus melanopleurus],” he said.

“During the operation to move the enclosures to deeper water, two officials were badly burned when a leaking oil pipe was ignited by the heat of their vessel’s engine,” added Chan Sarith, deputy director of the provincial police’s marine traffic unit.

“Thanks to the swift intervention of the authorities, the remaining stock appears to be in good shape,” he explained.

The owner of a fish farm in Khsam commune’s Chong Koh village of Kampong Chhnang town, who gave his name only as “Ke”, told The Post that he had lost almost six tonnes of stock since April 1.

“I have two fish farming cages – one is for Asian red tailed catfish and the other is for Spot pangasius [Pangasius larnaudii],” he said.

“Many other operations have also suffered large losses. I have personally lost more than $30,000,” he added.

According to Ke, the two species that he farms would ordinarily fetch from 22,000 to 25,000 riel per kg. His family had been forced to process the dead fish into prahok – dried fish paste – in order to reduce their losses.

“I believe this disaster was caused by the heavy rains we experienced in early April. The extra volume of water brought pollutants into the waters of the Tonle Sap, preventing the river from carrying enough oxygen to support my fish,” he said.


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