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Illegal fishing down on Tonle Sap Lake: officials

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Pursat police seize illegal fishing equipment in Pursat province’s Kandieng district on March 29. PURSAT POLICE

Illegal fishing down on Tonle Sap Lake: officials

Illegal fishing activity in the area around the Tonle Sap Lake have decreased in recent weeks following a crackdown by local authorities who are continuing to patrol and prevent offences in an effort to improve fish stocks, according to a Fisheries Administration official.

Fisheries Administration spokesman Ung Try told The Post that after a large-scale campaign to crack down on fishing offences in the lake area, illegal fishing activity has decreased as would-be offenders have been deterred by the authorities’ presence.

“For now, the illegal fishing activity has become quiet. Our national forces are still on standby in two locations in the Tonle Sap Lake area and continue to cooperate with the forces at sub-national level,” he said.

Try said six provincial authorities around the lake had patrolled the area, finding and dismantling fishing equipment, such as bamboo barricades, wooden poles, nets and trawls left behind by offenders.

He added that, on the orders of Prime Minister Hun Sen, the joint commission at the national level agreed to establish headquarters in two locations around the lake – one in the Chroy Sdey area of Pursat province and another in the Kampong Phluk area of Siem Reap province – to search for, and arrest, the offenders, especially those whom the commission termed “mobile” offenders who used electrocution devices on motorboats to destroy freshwater resources in the area.

In addition to the headquarters, the six provincial authorities also set up several outposts around the lake to catch offenders.

On April 2, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon and several senior officials visited on-duty Fisheries Administration staff to inspect their work at the lake. During the visit, Sakhon was said to have distributed food and medicine to the forces and donated 1,000 litres of fuel and five million riel ($1,250) to each headquarters as a “morale booster”.

“The minister instructed patrolling forces to take their turns conducting the patrols regularly in protected and conservation areas ... We have to seize and destroy all equipment that can be used as a means to commit the offences... and further spread the word,” he said.

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