Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - WWF: Urgent action needed to protect endangered fish



WWF: Urgent action needed to protect endangered fish

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An endangered Isok barb sold at Phae Leur market in Kratie town. WWF Cambodia

WWF: Urgent action needed to protect endangered fish

On the occasion of Cambodia’s National Fish Day on Wednesday, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Cambodia) and the Fisheries Administration urged law enforcement officials to take urgent action to protect endangered Mekong fish from extinction.

They warned that Giant Barb, Lsok Barb, Giant Goonch, Mekong Tiger Perch, Elephant-ear Gourami and Mekong Freshwater Stingray are being traded in Cambodia and trafficked to other countries.

The findings are the result of a January assessment that the six were among 35 types of fish being sold in markets in Kratie province.

Fishermen and residents were also interviewed.

The study found three main locations for endangered fish trafficking, including Koh Knhae, O’ Maras and Tbong Khla. The fish are trafficked to markets in Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri, Vietnam and Laos.

They are also trafficked to markets in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap by lorry from a fish collection site in Sambo district’s Sandan commune.

“It is illegal to trade endangered fish. It poses a serious threat to Cambodia’s fisheries resources, especially the mega fish species and the Mekong Irrawaddy Dolphins, which are considered the Kingdom’s living treasure,” the report said.

Fisheries Administration director-general Eng Cheasan said fishermen, buyers and middlemen do not understand much about the fisheries law and relevant legislation to protect resources, especially endangered fish species that need protection from extinction.

“I urge all relevant authorities to increase awareness about the fisheries law … and encourage fishing communities and the locals along the Mekong River to diversify income activities,” said Cheasan.

WWF-Cambodia country director Seng Teak wants to boost education about the law and create laws to fight illegal electro-fishing activities and stop fish harvesting and trade routes.

“I appeal to authorities at all levels to tighten their law enforcement efforts and enhance regular monitoring mechanisms at the fish markets and trading points while imposing severe penalties on those who illegally fish in prohibited river sections,” he said.

Giant Barb and Lsok Barb are classified as critically endangered globally and in Cambodia, while Giant Goonch, Mekong Tiger Perch, Elephant-ear Gourami are classified as endangered in the Kingdom.

There was a 38 per cent increase in illegal gillnetting from December last year to May, compared to the same period from 2018 to last year. The use of long-line hooks also increased by 46 per cent, the report said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there