Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fisheries move may net gain for Tonle Sap




Fisheries move may net gain for Tonle Sap

Fisheries move may net gain for Tonle Sap

Prime minister Hun Sen announced yesterday that 35 privately owned fishing lots in the Tonle Sap lake had been seized by the government due to their widespread destruction of fish resources.  

The enclosed lots, often measuring several square kilometres, are surrounded by netting.

The operation of the lots will be suspended for at least three years, “in order to increase fish populations”, Hun Sen said.  Non-commercial “family fishing” will still be allowed in the lake, he said, adding that
some of the seized lots would be set aside as protected areas.      

Speaking out strongly against fishing-lot owners during an inauguration of an upgrade of National Road 1 in Kandal province, the prime minister said that many had been using banned gill nets, harvesting fish under the legal size limit, and using the  poisonous chemical acetylene to drive fish out of flooded forests and into their lots.    

“The owners of the fishing lots and local fisheries officials are lucky that they’re not being taken to court,” Hun Sen said, adding that the 35 lots were spread over Battambang, Siem Reap, Pursat, Kampong Thom and Kampong Chhnang provinces.

The prime minister said he had ordered Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Chan Sarun to confiscate all illegal fishing gear from the Tonle Sap lots.   

“If the owners complain that they can’t fish while Hun Sen is prime minister, then they can vote against me,” he said.

Om Savath, deputy director of NGO Fisheries Action Coalition Team, welcomed the decision, saying, “we have been urging political decision-makers to do this for years”.

“This is a good opportunity for fishermen to be able to better manage Tonle Sap fisheries and it will facilitate more sustainable fishing practices that support local community livelihoods,” he said, adding that it could also help protect threatened aquatic species.   

Ly Savuth, the owner of a fishing lot in Pursat province, said “this is the government’s policy, so let them do it”, declining to comment further.

MOST VIEWED

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • Vietnamese land-grabbers held

    Following a provincial court order, Ratanakkiri Military Police on April 16 arrested 12 Vietnamese nationals accused of crossing the border into Cambodia and illegally clearing forest land. The accused are now being detained at Phnom Svay prison in the province. Ratanakkiri military police commander Thav Yen told

  • Eight people sent to court over violent protest

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities on Sunday sent eight people to court for blocking National Road 4 and using violence against authorities in a land dispute in Prey Nop district’s Bit Traing commune. Four police officers and two commune security guards sustained injuries when the protesters