The provincial administrations of Battambang and Kampong Thom have warned they will take legal action against any fishermen who continues to make use of illegal fishing gear or is found with it in their possession.
The ban includes freshwater trawl nets, electrocution devices and machine-powered devices, because they have led to a dangerous decline in Cambodia’s fish numbers.
Chuong Sophea, director of the Fisheries Administration’s (FiA) Battambang provincial cantonment, told The Post on May 15 that the deadline to voluntarily turn in all types of illegal fishing gear owned by fishermen in the province had arrived.
He said more than 300 families who rely on fishing for their livelihoods have turned in their illegal fishing gear, including hundreds of electrocution devices and tens of thousands of metres of freshwater trawl nets.
“As of May 11, 2022 – within the purview of the FiA – we have received 364 illegal devices and more than 20,000m of freshwater trawl nets from fishermen in the freshwater fishing area of Battambang province.
“This shows awareness and understanding of the gravity of the situation by our fishermen and their sincere desire to improve the national fishery resources here,” he said.
Sophea said now that the deadline has passed, provincial authorities will continue to conduct local inspections to search for and seize all illegal fishing gear. Any fisherman found using or hiding the banned fishing gear will face legal action without exception, he said.
Separately, the Kampong Thom Provincial Administration gave its fishermen a two-week notice beginning May 12.
All fishermen must hand over their illegal fishing gear to police before the deadline arrives on May 31.
“If anyone fails to follow the instructions, we will take action against them in accordance with the laws,” it said.
It called on all people to put an immediate stop to using poisons, chemicals and other environmentally destructive methods of fishing that are causing great harm to the Kingdom’s fishery resources.