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Illegal fishing crackdown sees netting, traps seized

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Authorities work with fisherman in Pursat after the provincial fishery administration authority launched a campaign against fishery crime. Photo supplied.

Illegal fishing crackdown sees netting, traps seized

Pursat Provincial Fisheries Administration officials commenced a week-long illegal fishing crackdown at the flooded forest surrounding the Tonle Sap lake on Friday – the second-largest such operation this month.

Coming in the wake of an inspection by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries the previous day, the operation – conducted by some 50 fisheries officials, local authorities and fishermen – is aimed at cracking down on the rampant use of illegal fishing methods.

Such methods include electrocuting fish, using illegal nets and trawling, all of which have devastating effects on the marine environment and wildlife.

“In early December, the Pursat provincial deputy governor led a team of 100 officials … but no one was arrested [because] it seems that the illegal fishermen had been informed [about the crackdown],” said NGO Coalition of Cambodian Fisheries director Long Sochet.

According to Pin Vuthy, the Kampong Luong commune fisheries administration chief, the past four days of crackdown in nine communes in Krakor district saw the seizure of nets totalling 9,250 metres in length and 1,645 fishing traps, as well as the release of 320 kilograms of fish.

“It is the second-biggest operation in December, and we will continue till the end of 2016 to eliminate fishing crimes in the whole province,” he said.

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