Fishing crime busts rose 150 per cent during the first nine months of 2015, compared with the same period last year, while anti-forestry crime actions dropped 13 per cent.
According to the third-quarter report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, while there were 1,773 law enforcement actions against illegal fishing and associated crimes during the first nine months of 2014, there were 2,744 busts carried out through September this year.
Of the fishing crime cases, just 89 occurred at sea, with the rest of the busts taking place on Cambodia’s lakes and waterways.
Cambodian Human Rights Task Force (CHRTF) director Ouch Leng said while the increase in enforcement of fishing crimes should be welcomed, in cases of both fishing and forestry crime it is only small-time operators and poor individuals who tend to face justice, while the rich and powerful people often directing them act with impunity.
“Tycoons are protected by the authorities because of corruption,” he said.
Among the cases of forestry crime, more than 5 tonnes of protected rosewood were confiscated, as well as nearly 4,000 animals.
The cases also saw almost 1,200 people sent to court, with about 500 fined.
Secretary of State for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Eang Sophallet could not be reached for comment yesterday.