Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Participation in fisheries urged

Participation in fisheries urged

Participation in fisheries urged

After six months working as the chief of the fisheries community in Meanrith village

in Kampong Chhnang province, Pal Khun has found that a lack of participation by villagers

has made his job impossible.

"I no longer bother to crack down on illegal activities," he said. "I

have no support from the villagers, and sometimes those fishing illegally threaten

to kill us."

Khun was appointed local head of the fisheries community six months ago at a selection

ceremony. The villagers were asked to vote, but Khun said it had become apparent

that they knew nothing about it. They told Khun that the fisheries community belonged

only to those few who were committee members.

"When we ask them to come to meetings or to help crack down on illegal activities,

they simply tell us is it not their job," said Khun, repeating the villagers

words, "This job belongs to you."

Fish is an essential source of protein for most Cambodians. Just over a year ago

the government handed control of some fisheries to local communities to manage. Prior

to that, most had been in the hands of rich businessmen. However, the entire process

has been marred by problems throughout its short life.

The newly elected deputy commune chief of Kampong Trolach, Srey Sokhoeun, said the

process would not work unless villagers understood what it entailed and believed

it would benefit them. He said the solution was for NGOs to educate them.

The lack of help, Khun said, had resulted in his team no longer bothering to enforce

the law either. They had not been paid, and did not even get funds for fuel to help

monitor illegal fishing on the lake. Khun suggested that those working in enforcement

should be properly paid, since they were no longer able to provide a living for their

families.

Dr Yang Saing Koma is executive director of Center d'Etude et de Développement

Agricole Cambodgien (CEDAC), which has been running feasibility studies in the district.

He said success required increased awareness and participation from villagers. Selection

of the fisheries community chief and committee members should be done in a transparent

and democratic way. "This process takes time," said Dr Yang. "We cannot

set up community fisheries effectively if the people still don't know what it all

means."

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio