More than 300 fishery crimes were identified during the month of July around the Tonle Sap region and more than 3,000 fish were released back into the water, an official said yesterday. Hong Hy, spokesman for the Fisheries Administration Department, said the department cooperated with local authorities to crack down on 311 fishery crimes, confiscating several pieces of equipment for illegal fishing and releasing 3,061 fish back into the Tonle Sap.
“Though the authorities regularly launch crackdowns, the crimes continue to happen,’’ he said. “Most of the fishery crime offenders are the local people in the fishing communities.’’
Uot Long, a member of the Pursat provincial Cambodia Fishing Alliance, acknowledged that most fishery crimes were committed by fishermen because they depend on fishing to make a living. During the first six months of this year, Fishery Administration officials intercepted 1,653 fishery crimes nationwide.
Suspects in 49 cases were sent to court, and 52 suspects were handed prison sentences, while others were only fined. The fines totalled 166 million riel, or about $40,653. The fishing ban on the south part of the Tonle Sap lake began in early June and is set to last until early October. In the north of the Tonle Sap, the ban began in early July and will last through the end of October.