Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fishing communities mobilise to protect their livlihoods

Fishing communities mobilise to protect their livlihoods

Fishing communities mobilise to protect their livlihoods

All along the coast, communities are in uproar as professional Vietnamese fishermen move in to Cambodian waters, pushing out locals

IN the wake of the shooting death of a fisheries official last month, fishing communities are threatening protests unless authorities address their complaints against illegal fishing by Vietnamese.

"We cannot compete with the Vietnamese boats," said Neak Sen, 39, villager in Koh Troey fishing community in Kampot province's Kampong Bay district, Troey Koh commune. "Our livelihood has been put in question."

Around 40 fishing communities living in Sihanoukville, Kep, Kampot and Koh Kong have announced plans to gather in Kampot province to express their concern over Vietnamese illegally overfishing Cambodian waters.

"The Vietnamese boats are big and have 200 to 300cc of power which allows the Vietnamese to catch up to 1 tonne of seafood in one night," Neak Sen said. "We use only small boats with 24cc of power and we catch less than 100kg of seafood per night."

Moreover, no action has been taken against illegal Vietnamese fishermen who are believed to have been behind the shooting death of a fisheries official on July 16. "No one has arrested the perpetrator yet," Neak Sen said, adding that the protesters will also appeal to the government to find the gunman.

Leng Sarorn, program coordinator for Fisheries Action Coalition Team, an NGO working to protect natural resources along the sea, said that there are between four and six Vietnamese boats fishing in Cambodian waters every night. "Villagers want the Cambodian and Vietnamese authorities to discuss the water boundary," he added.

Thach Khorn, Kampot provincial governor, told the Post by telephone on Wednesday that the protest would be allowed if the villagers demonstrate in accordance with the law. He acknowledged that due to the unclear sea boundary, Vietnamese fishermen were fishing in Cambodian waters and he confirmed that this had caused the shooting incident last month in Kampot.

"We never allowed the Vietnamese to fish here. We will investigate if there are illegal fishermen," he said, adding that people should lodge complaints if they see any illegal fishing.


  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • PM's Bodyguard commander hits back at US

    The commander of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit (BGU) Hing Bun Heang on Sunday dismissed a short video clip that went viral on social media in which he says he is preparing for a war with the United States over its aggressiveness towards

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth