The number of illegal fishing cases handled by authorities jumped by nearly 30 percent in the first half of 2017 when compared to the same period last year, according to a Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries report released yesterday.
In the first half of 2017, authorities investigated 1,653 cases of illegal fishing, up 27.34 percent compared to the same period in 2016.
Among the 2017 cases, 1,553 of the cases were on rivers and 100 at sea.
According to the report, the investigations led to authorities collecting and destroying 704,432 metres of illegal fishing nets, along with 274 banned tools.
About $40,000 in fines were issued, the report added.
“Ministry officials will continue to crackdown on any illegal fishing in order to protect fishery resources,” Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Veng Sakon said in the report.
Sim Van, a fisheries community chief in Kampong Chhnang province, said that some fishermen use illegal tools for fishing because they want to increase their catch.
“Using illegal tools for fishing is very dangerous because they destroy fish resources,” he said.
“And even though the authorities crackdown on fishermen who use illegal tools, I still see them continuing to do the same thing everyday.”
Van Samnag, a subsistence fisherman in Stung Treng province, said authorities need to crackdown on large operations that use illegal means and stop targeting people just looking for food.
“We are fishermen trying to feed our families,” he said.
“The larger operations using illegal tools catch all the fish and it affects us.”