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Officials ‘renting out’ outlawed fishing lot

Officials ‘renting out’ outlawed fishing lot

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Forty families from Kandal province’s Chroy Snor village filed a complaint with Licadho yesterday, accusing district fishery officials of keeping an illegal fishing lot open and renting it to businessmen. 

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Pram Phin, 53, one of five representatives who submitted the complaint at Licadho’s Phnom Penh office, appealed to NGOs and Kandal parliamentarians to ask Prime Minister Hun Sen to shut down the fishing lot in their commune.

“Fishery officials in our district did not respect Prime Minister Hun Sen’s directive; they did not shut down the fishing lot, but they took it to rent to businessmen,” he said.

The officials had also banned villagers from fishing in that area, and confiscated the fishing equipment of anyone who attempted to do so, he said.

Villager representative Kem San, 66, said officials stopped villagers in the area from pumping water for their crops.  

The lot falls under a ban that Hun Sen imposed on commercial fishing in the Tonle Sap Lake last August, citing needs for conservation and to return fishing resources to villagers.

The prime minister also signed a sub-decree in March banning commercial fishing in Kandal, Kampong Cham, Takeo and Prey Veng provinces from Tuesday.

Bun Tounsimona, director of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries department in Kandal province, could not be reached for comment yesterday, while Nao Thouk, director of the Fisheries Administration at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, declined to comment.  

Licadho senior investigator Chheng Sophors said he had received the complaint and would be sending officers to investigate.

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