Farmers, Officials Destroy Illegal Fishing Gear

Fisheries officials and dozens of farmers living around a lake in Kompong Cham province’s Kang Meas district on Monday destroyed illegal fishing equipment and knocked down two barriers they say were causing delays to dry-season rice farming.

Ieng Nam, a community leader, said about 50 farmers and four fisheries officials had confiscated and destroyed 35 sets of illegal mesh nets and removed two bamboo barriers from the lake to speed up the flow of water.

About 100 hectares of land have been farmed there for years, but planting had begun one month late for the past five years because flooded fields took longer to drain, he said.

“Law enforcement here is very weak.

That’s why illegal fishing is going on,” he added.

Kang Meas district governor Moeung Tha approved Mr. Nam’s request to remove the barriers last week, he said, allowing farmers to plant their crops earlier.

Uk Narin, director of the Kompong Cham Fishery Administration cantonment, said officials had previously confiscated illegal fishing equipment from the area.

Mr. Tha could not be reached for comment.

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