Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Floating homes set sail after alleged fish die-off



Floating homes set sail after alleged fish die-off

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Floating homes and boats of ethnic Vietnamese and Cham fishing community members are seen in the Tonle Sap River yesterday in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Floating homes set sail after alleged fish die-off

Phnom Penh area residents may have noticed an unusual sight this week as they looked out onto the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers – an armada of floating homes anchored near the Chroy Changvar bridge.

According to the boats’ inhabitants, who raise fish underneath their floating homes in Russei Keo district’s Chraing Chamreh I commune, the move was prompted by a mass die-off of fish last weekend due to increasing water temperatures.

But the floating homes, which have set up in what is technically Chroy Changvar district, have drawn widespread anger, sometimes tinged with racism, from Facebook users, who accuse them of dirtying the waters and sullying the view.

“I wonder why the floating homes move to the middle [of the] river near [the] Chroy Changvar bridge . . . did the authorities allow them or not? It looks messy and pollutes the environment,” wrote one Facebook user on Monday. Another commentator, pointing out that the floating homes belong to “yuon”, a sometimes derogatory term for ethnic Vietnamese, asked: “[did] the authorities see or not?”

Inhabitants of the floating homes insist their move is temporary and a matter of economic survival.

“This year it is very hot and I lost 1 tonne of fish,” said Thin Than, 35, who explained that the families expected the deeper waters near the city to be cooler. “Last year, my fish did not die as much as this year and we are very worried.”

Fisherman Sa Kada, 40, said that he only intends to stay in the district for a few days in order to expose his fish to cooler waters.

“Please help us, we do not disturb someone else, we just worry about our fish dying,” he said.

Chroy Changvar Commune Chief Pich Saroeun said that while the fishing families did not request permission to stay in his commune, he expects they will only stay long enough to “change water” for their fish.

Nao Thouk, the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, explained that fishing families move along the Tonle Sap River each year as water temperatures change.

The owners only need verbal permission from local authorities for a temporary stay.

Thouk said his ministry had not yet received an official number of dead fish and would examine their complaints.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting