Authorities in Kampong Cham province raided an illegal fishing operation on a river on Sunday, seizing illegal fishing nets, educating four fishermen and releasing their catch back into the river.
Doung Nha, Batheay district deputy police chief, said yesterday that the four fishermen were caught red-handed.
“We caught four people who were laying illegal nets and we made them sign a contract to never repeat the act,” Mr Nha said. “We also confiscated their nets. The operation was conducted on the river in Sambo commune and Batheay commune. The nets were burned after they were confiscated.”
“We do this from time to time because fishing season is over,” he added. “Regardless, the type of nets they were using was illegal.”
He noted that 32 kilograms of fish were released back into the river.
Leng Vanna, Batheay commune deputy police chief, said yesterday that illegal fishing still happens regardless of actions taken by authorities.
“We have a programme to disseminate information about illegal fishing, but it is always ignored by fishermen living around here,” Mr Vanna said, noting that no concrete action against illegal fishing has been taken.
“Officers crack down on illegal fishing on a regular basis, but they say the issue has become a real problem because informing fishermen that some fishing techniques are considered illegal is often ignored,” he said. “We need to have a real and concrete plan in order to prevent it from happening in the future.”
Mr Vanna noted that in some cases, officials are bribed by fishermen.
Cases of illegal fishing have slumped by about 12 percent in the first half of this year when compared to the same period last year, an Agriculture Ministry report said.
The report noted that there has been 1,447 cases of illegal fishing during the first half of this year, down by 206 cases in the same period last year.
Out of the 1,447 cases, 1,369 were in fresh water and 78 in the ocean, it added.