During the first month of the closure of the Stung Treng commercial fishing season, the Provincial Fisheries Administration have seized more than 11,000m of floating fishing nets and more than 2,000 hooks and fishing lines.

Srey Sam Vichet, head of the fisheries administration, told The Post that the season is closed from early May to the end of September every year, as this is the breeding and spawning season. Households are allowed to fish for food during this time, but the use of commercial fishing equipment is banned.

“Although the details of the prohibition on fishing were widely shared to each of the local communities, fisheries officers seized a total of 11,650 metres of floating nets, 2,064 hooks and fishing lines and 250m other nets. At least 100 fishermen were warned that they must cease any commercial fishing while the fishing season is closed,” he said.

According to Sam Vichet, some of the seized materials were burned and some were recycled by the river guard’s office.

Pheng Boeun, chief of the Koh Preah Fisheries Cooperative, told The Post that the fishing communities along the Irrawaddy Dolphin and Mekong River Conservation and fish conservation areas always respect the authorities’ and fisheries administration’s instructions.

“Whether in the closed or open season, fishermen in our community never use any fishing equipment that is prohibited by fisheries law. Because we live in the conservation areas, we use only family-scale nets or fishing gear,” he explained.

“Any fishermen who are caught using commercial equipment – or other illegal fishing tools – by members of my community or the river guards are instructed to sign a contract that states they will cease the use of illegal fishing tools in conservation areas,” he said.