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Fisheries authority chalks up 599 offences

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Officials inspect and confiscate illegal fishing gear during a patrol along Tonle Sap river. SUPPLIED

Fisheries authority chalks up 599 offences

The Fisheries Administration has cracked down on a total of 599 fishing offences in the first three months of the year, including 42 sea fishing offences. This figure is down by 88 cases from the same period last year, said its report obtained by The Post on Wednesday.

“Of the offenders, 44 have been arrested and sent to court for legal action. The other 38 offenders were charged with transitional fines totalling 90,662,000 riel [$22,700],” it said,

In the crackdown, the police also dismantled and demolished equipment, including 184,550m of nets and fishing boat nets, 88,204 poles or fences; 25,948sqm of wooden barricades; 556 mouse-tail fish traps and 143 fish electronic shock devices.

At the same time, the administration released 11,087kg of mixed fish types seized in the crackdowns into lakes, the report said.

Fisheries Administration deputy director Meng Sophay said despite the crackdown, fines that were levied, and the number of people to be sent to prison, such offences were still common even during prohibition.

“Fishermen committing offences have been arrested by officials in each province for education. Also, some offenders use their family’s poverty as an excuse to continue their practices,” Sophay said.

At the same time, he said the Fisheries Administration has urged its offices throughout the Kingdom to continue to strictly enforce the law and push the fishing community to manage its fishing areas to ensure they are “free of offences”.

In Siem Reap province, Prasat Bakong district governor Sou Platong told The Post on Wednesday that on April 4, he led a multinational police force to patrol the area at the border of Prasat Bakong district’s Kampong Phluk commune and Sotr Nikum district’s Kampong Khlaing commune.

They detained five Vietnamese fishermen in five fishing boats, a 37m-long net, and an electronic shock device.

After the arrest of the five offenders and the seizure of evidence, the men were handed over to commune officials at the Fisheries Administration to be questioned, Platong said.

“They have been officially arrested by the Prasat Bakong district police force. We educated them about using electronic shock devices and illegal fishing tools twice previously, but they refuse to obey,” he said.

Siem Reap provincial court prosecutor Keut Vannareth said the suspects had not been sent to court but were issued with fines under the law.

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