At least 12 suspects have been sent to the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court on charges of forestry and fisheries crimes, while others had fines imposed on them and were required to sign contracts promising to stop repeating the offences, according to a senior official of the provincial Department of Agriculture.
Nen Chamroeun, the provincial director of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told The Post on December 19 that over the course of 2021, officials from the Fisheries Administration had gone on 57 patrols and intervened in 30 cases. They destroyed six illegal encampments and seized 16 tools used to catch cockles while confiscating 11,222 sets of fishing nets with a total length of 8,886m.
“Two suspects were arrested by the Fisheries Administration and sent to the provincial court while the other two were fined according to the fisheries law,” he said.
The provincial Forestry Administration conducted 153 patrols in 2021 and cracked down on 77 offences. They dismantled 80 wooden fence posts used for illegal land claims and destroyed 66 illegally placed structures including a restroom facility with five rooms while confiscating other construction materials, according to Chamroeun.
“During the crackdown, our officers arrested a total of 13 suspects, 10 of whom were sent to court while the other three were educated and ordered to pay fines,” he said.
According to Chamroeun, the officials also engage in community outreach efforts to educate the public on the forestry and fisheries laws and the reasons for them so that local fishermen and farmers can help with the work of protecting Cambodia’s natural resources.
He said the protection of fisheries, forests and wildlife requires participation from all stakeholders, especially the local community.