Under the CAPFISH-Capture programme, the EU in Cambodia provided seven maritime patrol vessels to the Fisheries Administration (FiA) cantonments in the Kingdom’s four coastal provinces to meet their operational needs in the suppression and prosecution of fisheries crimes.

A ceremonial handover of the vessels was held on May 4 in the presence of Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon and EU ambassador to Cambodia Carmen Moreno.

Sakhon said the new ships will be provided to the FiA’s cantonments in Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kep and Kampot provinces in response to illegal fishing activities, which are key indicators in the cooperation financing agreement between the Cambodia government and the EU. They will also implement the National Plan of Control and Inspection and the National Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing in Cambodia.

“I hope that the officers from the [cantonments] will use the equipment to crack down on illegal fishing and will maintain these fine vessels effectively,” he said.

He also urged all relevant officials to strengthen the implementation of the laws on fisheries to eliminate all kinds of fishery crimes. He said they should continue to promote aquaculture development to ensure the sustainability of fisheries resources, which also improved the quality and safety of fishery products for both the domestic market and for export.

He added that in two years of the CAPFISH-Capture project, the EU has provided patrol boats, vehicles, motorcycles, and office supplies, as well as specialised equipment for operations at the national and sub-national levels.

He also highlighted the achievements that Koh Kong province had made in the development of key sectors, including agriculture.

After the ceremony, Sakhon and Moreno – as well as Koh Kong provincial governor Mithona Phuthong and many other officials – placed concrete boxes on the seabed to develop artificial habitats for the precious fishery resources of the Kingdom, just one more way authorities are working to manage, conserve and develop fishery resources.