Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fishing communities still frustrated by local govt

Fishing communities still frustrated by local govt

Fishing communities still frustrated by local govt

A recent workshop on community fisheries has revealed a lack of effective regulations and a gap between what local authorities and fishing communities expect from the process.

Hor Sam Ath, a local representative from Battambang province and one of 160 participants at the workshop in Kampong Cham, complained that some local authorities are not only unwilling to cooperate with villages in creating fisheries communities, but in some cases they actually encourage villagers not to join, claiming that membership would only benefit a small number of people.

"People in my village were told that if they joined the [community fisheries] group, it would show they likely were members of cooperatives during the time of Pol Pot," he said.

The word sakhakor, which means 'cooperative' in Khmer, was common currency under the Khmer Rouge, and is associated with a time of suffering, he said.

Mak Sithirith, environment network coordinator at the NGO Forum on Cambodia, said that the concept of community fisheries was still new to many authorities and fisheries officials, who wanted to maintain their control.

"I believe that these people still think that communities cannot manage and preserve fishing resources," said Sithirith. "However, it is important that communities manage their fisheries because it is something that takes place in their area and they are the ones who will benefit."

Nao Thouk, Director of the Fisheries Department, agreed that some local authorities did interrupt the process of creating community fisheries. In some places, he said, commune chiefs prevented people attending the meetings and discussions.

"The local authorities, for example in Patsanday commune of Kampong Thom province, don't want the people to create community fisheries. They want to keep that area for their own benefit," he said.

He added that the process was facing problems since it involved work his staff were unaccustomed to doing and had little experience in. However, he said, a lack of funds to implement the process was also an issue.

Thouk said that 105 community fisheries had been established, even though the relevant sub-decree was yet to be issued by the government. Sam Ath said that the lack of a decree had caused problems in his province: local authorities felt free to ignore steps to create the communities.

Nao Thouk disagreed, saying that the letter from Prime Minister Hun Sen ordering the creation of communities should overcome that.

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release