Kep provincial authorities are planning to register each of the fishing vessels operating in the province, in order to ensure the legality of fishermen’s businesses and allow their catches to be exported.

Theng Borin, head of the Kep provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, announced on January 17 that the decision to register the vessels was made during a recent meeting between the provincial authorities and the fisheries and transport departments.

He added that prior to completing the registrations, a public awareness campaign was underway, with community representatives across the province receiving instructions to inform all local fishermen of the requirement.

“We have ordered community representatives to explain the reasons for the registration drive to the fishermen in their communities, and will arrange a convenient time for our teams to visit each area and conduct the registrations,” he said.

“Thanks to this plan, we expect to see better results than we obtained last year,” he added.

He explained that once the authorities knew the exact number of fishing boats at sea, it would be easier to manage the province’s fisheries, as well as prosecute fishing offences.

In the past, the vessel registration service was offered through the One Window Service Office (OSWO). He noted that very few fishermen had come forward to register their boats. 

Borin estimated that Kep is home to around 500 fishing boats, some of which are registered, but he could not confirm the precise number as the work remains ongoing.

Kep provincial governor Som Piseth said the registration process would not only inform the authorities about the number of vessels that were operating, but also the type of equipment each one used.

He acknowledged that it was difficult for some fishermen to visit the offices and register their boats, which is why the authorities will now go to them.