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Gov’t plans crackdown on illegal fishing

Gov’t plans crackdown on illegal fishing

Interior Minister Sar Kheng has said he plans to use speedboats and a helicopter to patrol the Tonle Sap lake in an effort to crack down on illegal fishing.

Last week, Kheng also asked provincial officials to closely monitor illegal fishing activities. “We have asked a lot of people to cut their [illegal] fishing, but in the end, we didn’t crack down,” he said, adding that he was serious this time around.

“There is a need to use the marines to patrol . . . we have just now asked the royal government for speedboats,” he said.

A helicopter will also be used to patrol frequently, he added.

The ministry last month also announced the formation of a working group to tackle this issue. Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak declined to comment.

Om Savath, executive director of the Fisheries Action Coalition Team, said it’s a “good thing” if the government is taking the issue seriously.

However, he added that a lot of the illegal fishing takes place at night and that a crackdown wouldn’t be an “easy” task.

“The government should co-operate with grassroots-level organisations to take quick action,” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY YESENIA AMARO