Illegal fishing cases slumped by about 12 percent in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries said in a report released yesterday.
There were 1,447 cases of illegal fishing in the six months, down by 206 cases on last year. Of the 1,447 cases, 1,369 were in fresh water and 78 in the sea.
In the crackdowns, hundreds of kilometres of fishing nets of various types and 244 electric shock fishing devices were seized and 19,999 kilos of fish were released.
Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon called for authorities to keep working hard with local law enforcement officers to crack down on more cases, especially in the Tonle Sap lake.
“Build the capacity of the related fishery officials at all levels and strengthen cooperation on a regular basis with provincial, city and district authorities to contain and crack down on fishery crimes,” he said in the report. “Pay attention to the government directive to stop fishery crimes in the Tonle Sap lake.”
Tum Niro, chief of the Stung Treng provincial fishery administration, said his forces had worked relentlessly, especially during the prohibited fishing season. He had seen a reduction in the crime in his jurisdiction compared with last year.
“In general terms, there are not big crimes here,” he said. “People are mostly fishing illegally for family meals and a small part of it is for business.”
“They are not commercial fishermen, but just go fishing when they are free from farming and rice growing,” he added. “The main issue here is small-scale fishing nets and crimes which happen mostly during the season when fishing is prohibited. We worked on the crackdown in the whole province.”
In the first half of this month, fishery forces led by Mr Niro seized a big quantity of illegal fishing equipment and educated 257 people in a 15-day crackdown on areas prone to illegal catches.