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Logging crackdowns up 81 pct, gov’t says

Logging crackdowns up 81 pct, gov’t says

A nine-month report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) shows that the number of illegal logging crackdowns increased 81 per cent – to 1,891 – compared with the same period last year, a spike one official attributed to a change in smugglers’ methods.

Lao Setha Phal, the MAFF’s director of legislation and law enforcement, said that after years of crackdowns, offenders had switched to a larger number of smaller shipments to evade detection.

In the same report, the MAFF said that illegal fishing arrests are down 16 per cent – to 1,773 cases – compared with last year thanks to the creation of 50 new conservation areas and four new fishery guard posts.

Minister of Agriculture Ouk Rabun said in the report that another 16 posts and more conservation areas are planned for the next year.

Fisherman Chan Van said that while he personally did not use illegal methods, others were driven to doing so by financial considerations. Nonetheless, he said, “it will bring down our fish populations”.

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