Tuol Snuol commune police in Tbong Khmum province are working in cooperation with the Tuol Snuol fisheries community committee to crack down on a series of fishing offences in their locality.

Commune police chief Khe Senghak said they removed and destroyed illegal fishing equipment near Roka Porpam commune and released over 20kg of fingerlings into the lake on August 28.

Senghak noted that in the spawning season, fisheries crimes tend to happen in remote villages near to lakes and rivers, especially in flooded forest areas.

Fisheries community representative Cheav Sophai said that during the season, commercial fishing is prohibited but some people still flout the ban.

“If we can prevent these crimes from happening during the spawning season, then the fish populations will recover more quickly,” he added.

He explained that the Fisheries Administration (FiA) – which is under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – only allowed families to catch food for their own consumption.

Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC) president Sok Touch said illegal commercial fishing is still happening in the Tonle Sap area, especially in Pursat and Kampong Thom provinces.

Citing a report released on August 27, he said 55 people had committed fisheries crimes – 39 in Kampong Luong and Ansar Chambak communes of Krakor district and 16 in Kampong Svay district’s Phat Sanday commune.

He warned of legal action if they did not discontinue their activities.

Chin Sitha, director of the FiA’s Kampong Thom cantonment, could not be reached for comment on August 29.

In Pursat province, FiA’s cantonment director Phum Nimol said officers had made a series of crackdowns and made them sign contracts promising to stop. They had been ordered to remove their fishing equipment by August 31.

In a notice on May 30, the agriculture ministry declaring the fishing season closed from June 1 to September 30 in provinces bordering the Tonle Sap Lake and the upstream Mekong River.