The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing has announced that fishing season is set to close for five months starting in June.
Eng Cheasan, chief of the fisheries administration at the ministry, issued an instruction last week to all relevant institutions and departments on the closure of the fishing season from June 1 to October 31.
“The fisheries administration wants to inform the public and all fishermen that the closed fishing season in the freshwater fishing domains is applicable on June 1 until September 30 for areas in the north of Chaktomuk Confluent, all provinces surrounding Tonle Sap river, as well as other provinces such as Kampong Cham, Tboung Khmum, Kratie, Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Preah Vihear, Pailin, Oddar Meanchey, Phnom Penh and Kandal province in the north of Chaktomuk River,” Mr Cheasan said.
He added that from July 1 until October 31, the domains include south of Chaktomuk Confluent, including Phnom Penh, Kandal Province in the south of Chaktomuk River, Prey Veng, Takeo, Kampong Speu and Svay Rieng province.
“During the closed season, fishermen can use only equipment for subsistence fishing that the state allowed, and that illegal fishing equipment is strictly prohibited,” Mr Cheasan said. “All fishermen must participate in the protection and conservation of our fisheries.”
Mr Cheasan hoped that all fishermen would comply with the instructions in order to care for and protect fisheries resources for the next generation.
According to the ministry, the number of illegal fishing cases has gone down by 229 in the first quarter of 2019 in comparison to the same period last year.
From January to March, there were 619 cases of illegal fishing, consisting of 577 cases of freshwater fishing crime and 42 cases of seawater crime.
Ros Thoeun, a 56-year-old fisherman, said that he understands the rules of closed fishing season.
“I have never abused the fishing law. I stop fishing for large amounts to sell at the market when the fishing season is closed. But I sometimes fish for food for the family, which the law allows. I also do not use any illegal equipment during this period,” Mr Thoeun said.
He said that his income is affected during closed fishing season. However, he earns money to support his family through other ways, such as planting vegetables and raising chickens or ducks to sell at the market.