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Despite higher yields, fish exports down

Chhut Bunthoeun / Khmer Times Share:
People weigh fish caught in the Mekong River. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Fishery yields increased in the first quarter of the year, but did result in higher exports, the latest report from the Ministry of Agriculture shows.

From January to March, freshwater fish yields rose by 100 tonnes compared to 2018’s first quarter, reaching 18,650 tonnes. Marine fish yields reached 2,630 tonnes, a 60-tonne increase.

However, fresh fish exports declined by 150 tonnes, amounting to just 2,450 tonnes, while shipments of processed fish products shrank by 100 tonnes, reaching just 1,000 tonnes.

Eng Chea San, director general of the fisheries administration, told Khmer Times on Monday that the drop in exports is the result of strong local demand as the country’s population expands and foreign visitors pour in.

“International arrivals keep increasing, which results on stronger demand for the product at home,” he said.

To develop the industry sustainably, Mr Chea San said the government aims to keep yields from growing in the future.

He added that the government is now looking for development partners that can help Cambodia expand the aquaculture sector in order to meet local and international demand.

Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said in January that the European Union and the United States have so far contributed roughly $150 million to support the Kingdom’s aquaculture sector.

In January, the US announced the ‘Commercialisation of Aquaculture for Sustainable Trade’ programme, a 17-million project that will run from 2019 to 2023 targeting five provinces.

Fish is a vital food source in Cambodia, accounting for over 75 percent of the population’s animal protein intake, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation.

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