Buddhist monks and members of the forest community of Sorng Rukhavorn Wildlife Sanctuary have expressed deep concern over illegal fishing activities in the sanctuary.

Venerable Ton Bolin, deputy head of the forest community commission in charge of patrolling to protect natural resources, told The Post that he and his team had discovered large numbers of dead fish in the sanctuary’s streams.

“The deaths could not have been caused by natural conditions, like when rainwater flows into the streams, but by pollution caused by human activities,” he claimed.

He said that on June 27, he and his team found a group of people from Samrong town and commune in Oddar Meanchey province fishing in the area, setting gill nets and using poison to drug the fish, resulting in the deaths of a large number of fish.

Most of the dead fish – in a fish breeding conservation area – were Khman (Hampala dispars), sailfin shark carp (Morulius chrysophekadion), grum fish (Osteochilus melanopleurus) and giant barbs (Cyclocheilichthys enoplos). Some individual fish weighed up to 5kg.

Environmentalist and natural resource activist Oeun Vanna, a resident of Anlong Veng district, supported Bolin’s comments, saying that it was very rare to see large numbers of fish deaths without human involvement.

“Fish species that live in deep ponds and large streams do not die in such large numbers unless the water is polluted or electrical shock devices are used,” he said.

He appealed to local communities and all stakeholders to end the destruction of natural resources and pollution of the Kingdom’s waterways, noting that such actions were driven by greed.

“As a human being, do not let your selfishness make you commit these kinds of acts. You need to understand that you are destroying resources that will serve the common good of all, both now and in the future, if they are managed correctly,” he said.