Cambodian PM orders crackdown on illegal fishing in Mekong

Remote villages around Tonle Sap lake targeted by police, governors given warning.

Cambodian authorities have launched a crackdown on illegal fishing in Tonle Sap lake, a major tributary of the Mekong River, following a directive issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen and claims that corrupt officials were involved.

“Is there a reason why the officials have not been successful in arresting the main people behind these illegal activities or have the authorities been involved in corruption?” Hun Sen asked. “If you cannot suppress illegal fishing, don’t work as governors.”

About 65 million people — mostly fisherfolk — live hand to mouth in the Lower Mekong basin where they have bitterly complained about falling fish stocks amid a four-year drought and claims of water hoarding in dams by upstream countries.

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