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Fisheries crime down in 2022, say officials

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Authorities crack down on fisheries crimes on the Tonle Sap Lake in 2022. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Fisheries crime down in 2022, say officials

In 2022, the Fisheries Administration (FiA) referred more than 120 cases to court and worked with authorities to crack down on nearly 3,000 cases of offenses across the country, issuing a total of over 310 million riel ($75,000) in fines.

A December 27 report from the FiA, seen by The Post on January 3, said it cooperated with authorities at all levels to quash offences throughout the Kingdom, most notably around the Tonle Sap Lake.

The FiA, which is under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, filed a total of 2,778 cases, including 177 maritime offences, a decrease of 453 over the previous year.

According to the report, the FiA confiscated and destroyed 1,183,433m of seine fishing nets and 589,606 fishing poles, 109,016m of gill nets, 6,818 fish traps and 291 electrical shock devices. It released more than 36 tonnes of fish back into the Tonle Sap Lake.

“A total of 2,560 cases of confiscation occurred, with an additional 122 suspects sent to court to answer 128 cases. Sixty-one suspects were imprisoned and over $75,000 in fines were issued,” it said.

The report offered a breakdown of the activities of each of the FiA’s five inspectorates.

The Chaktomuk inspectorate, which includes five provincial cantonments, staged 621 confiscations and referred 11 cases to court.

The Mekong inspectorate, which includes six provincial cantonments, staged 411 confiscations and sent 26 cases to court.

The North Tonle Sap inspectorate, which includes five provincial cantonments, staged 583 confiscations and sent 54 cases to court.

The Southern Tonle Sap inspectorate, which includes five provincial cantonments, staged 746 confiscations and sent 37 cases to court.

The Marine Fisheries inspectorate, which includes four provincial cantonments, staged 150 confiscations but sent no cases to court.

The FiA’s Administrative and Legal Affairs Authority dismantled and destroyed 49 contraband items, according to the same report.

FiA deputy director Ung Try told The Post that since the beginning of 2022, the FiA has educated 2,107 fishermen – 168 of them women – during 154 training sessions on the latest rules and regulations.

He said officials still faces some difficulties, as the use of illegal fishing equipment still persisted in some areas.

“In 2022, most fishermen used traditional family fishing tool, but a small number employed illegal methods. This included electrical equipment, the damming of creeks, fish traps and fishing in protected conservation areas,” he said.

He added that the FiA will continue to raise public awareness of the current regulations.

“Where necessary, we will follow the recommendations of Prime Minister Hun Sen and prosecute the perpetrators of fisheries offences,” he said.


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