Fish farmers who had ceased operations in April due to plummeting fish prices have now resumed their activities, encouraged by the recent upturn in the market, according to the Cambodian Aquaculturist Association (CAA).

Lem Phorvarith, spokesperson for the CAA, stated on November 7 that a significant number–50 to 60 percent–of aquaculturists had temporarily halted operations in March and April in the face of unprofitable prices.

With the advent of July, these prices have seen a favourable adjustment.

“Prior to the July election period, we observed a sharp increase in fish prices. Catfish prices soared from 4,000 riel per kg to 5,200 riel, while snakehead fish jumped from 9,000 riel per kg to 12,000 riel. Many who had ceased fish farming are now seeking to procure juvenile fish for rearing,” he stated.

He noted that not all farmers have been able to resume due to the end of the breeding season in May or June, which poses challenges in acquiring stock. Approximately half of those who had suspended their operations are back in business.

“The current market rates for fish continue to be strong. The yield from our aquaculturists, coupled with the natural fish harvest towards the year’s end, should be sufficient to meet demand without the need for imports,” he added.

Chan Sovan, a catfish farmer from Kampong Thom province, stated that he recommenced fish farming in mid-July after learning about the price rise, which presented a lucrative opportunity.

“After halting for over a year due to low prices that hindered my ability to repay the bank, I was prompted by the favourable market information in July to restart. The prevailing prices allow for profitability,” he explained.

The association recorded the price index of fresh fish from farms and ponds across six provinces–Kandal, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Pursat, Siem Reap and Battambang on November 6.

The great snakehead fish (Channa micropeltes) was priced between 6,000 to 7,000 riel per kg, the tinfoil barb (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii) at 8,500 riel per kg and the red tilapia (an Oreochromis hybrid) ranged from 8,000 to 9,500 riel per kg, as per the CAA.