Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tonnes of fish killed by heat in Kampong Thom

Tonnes of fish killed by heat in Kampong Thom

Dead fish float on the surface of a river in Kampong Thom province last week after they died due to high water temperatures. Fisheries Administration
Dead fish float on the surface of a river in Kampong Thom province last week after they died due to high water temperatures. Fisheries Administration

Tonnes of fish killed by heat in Kampong Thom

Record-breaking temperatures and drought are wreaking havoc across the Kingdom as officials yesterday reported the die-off of an estimated 65 tonnes of fish in Kampong Thom’s Tonle Chhmar protected area and warned the entire fish population of the lake may perish.

According to Nao Thuok, secretary-general of the Ministry of Agriculture, low water levels and high temperatures are now posing an existential threat to the fish population and measures are being taken to try and protect those left alive.

“Now, we are preparing temporary shelter. We bring water hyacinths from a nearby lake to spread on the [Tonle Chhmar] lake to make the water not so hot,” Thuok said.

“In 10 or 15 days, if there is no rainfall, all the fish will die.”

Established as a protected area in 2012, Tonle Chhmar has seen as many as 100 tonnes of fish die from storms, but not hot weather, Thuok said.

Water levels are at 0.15 to 0.2 metres, but they should be around 0.5 metres, Thuok explained, adding that the Tonle Chhmar Lake, which is usually connected to the Tonle Sap lake, is currently separated by 5 kilometres of dry land due to a poor rainy season and this year’s drought conditions.

Phann Phan, chief of Peam Bang commune, said authorities working with the community had brought in 20 boatloads of hyacinth, enough to cover 1 hectare of the lake.

According to Phan, Tonle Chhmar can cover 8,325 hectares at the peak of the rainy season, but currently it’s at about 20 per cent of that surface area.

Stoung District Governor Prim Ratha says the dead fish are mostly small, the kind used to make prahok. Yesterday, he said 200 boatloads were removed from the lake.

On Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen took to Facebook to urge citizens to conserve water and announce his order to the Ministry of Economy and Finance to allocate money to the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) and Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology for drought relief in the 18 provinces currently affected.

NCDM spokesman Keo Vy yesterday said the NCDM’s vice president, Nhim Vanda, was currently working with the Finance Ministry to determine what funds were needed.

“We have some water for farming because we still have water in reservoirs, but the water for usage by humans and cattle is in shortage,” he said.

Meanwhile in Stung Treng’s Siem Pang district, Ly Nak, 26, said that in the past week, some 10 cattle died in Thmarda village, and residents are concerned more will die in the coming days.

Additional reporting by Phak Seangly

MOST VIEWED

  • Second Hungary business forum set for H2

    Cambodia has asked Hungary to provide GSP- (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus facilities for when the Kingdom sheds its least-developed country (LDC) label, as the two countries prepare to hold a second business forum in the second half (H2) of this year to expand trade

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • Nearly 50 states join Kun Khmer Federation, all set for training

    In a little over a week, the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) has accepted membership requests from 20 new nations, in addition to the exiting 29. The sudden influx of international recognition stems from the Kingdom’s successful introduction of Kun Khmer to the 32nd Souheast Asian (

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • CPP sets out five primary strategic goals for 2023-28

    The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on January 29 concluded its two-day extraordinary congress, setting the party’s priority goals for 2023-2028. The ruling party’s congress was attended by more than 3,000 members from across the Kingdom, including the members of the permanent and central committees,