FISHERMEN from Kampot province travelled to Takhmao on Thursday to submit a petition urging Prime Minister Hun Sen’s intervention in a dispute involving a proposed coastal resort development they say threatens their community fishing zone.
The fishermen, from Kep Thmey village in Kampot’s Chhouk district, arrived at Hun Sen’s residence just a day after they held protests against the Keo Chea Development Company, which is reclaiming coastal land for the construction of the resort.
They said the 200-hectare reclamation effort will affect the residents of Kep Thmey and Torteng Thngai villages, most of whom rely on local fisheries, putting up to 1,000 livelihoods at risk.
WE WILL DIE OF STARVATION IF THERE IS NO PLACE FOR US TO FISH.
The company began reclaiming coastal land on October 8 in preparation for the project.
Villager Chan Dara, 47, said that the prime minister’s advisor accepted the petition and asked them to return home to wait until after the Water
Festival for a resolution.
“We have been fishing for several generations, and we will die of starvation if there is no place for us to fish,” she said.
“We need Prime Minister Hun Sen to intervene and maintain a fishing zone for us because it is our daily life.”
Since October 8, villagers have held demonstrations on three occasions, attempting to block trucks carrying landfill to the project site near their village.
A rally Wednesday resulted in scuffles between the villagers and police.
Chan Dara said the villagers would continue to demonstrate until the government agrees to preserve a community fishing zone for the villagers.
Villagers say that at least 80 percent of the area’s residents depend on the community fishing zone for their survival.
Nov Nara, a secretary to the prime minister, said he had accepted the petition from the villagers and would soon submit it to Hun Sen for review.