In an effort to increase fish stocks, the Ministry of Agriculture on
Wednesday adopted a sub-decree to create four conservation areas in Kandal, Kompong Cham, Prey Veng and Takeo provinces where all fishing activities will be prohibited.
Signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 6, the sub-decree does not outline how big the conservation areas will be, though it does say that the Fisheries Administration will be mandated with marking borders for the protected areas.
“All kinds of fishing and various activities in the fishery conservation area are banned, except for research of scientific technology permitted by the ministry,” the sub-decree states, adding that the financing for all conservation efforts will be footed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The government hopes to establish conservation areas in seven other provinces in the future, according to the sub-decree.
Nao Thouk, director of the Fisheries Administration, said that plans to expand conservation efforts in the future include tributaries of the Tonle Sap lake in Banteay Meanchey, Pursat, Battambang, Kompong Thom, Siem Reap and Kompong Chhnang provinces.
“In the first step, we are going to implement this in the four provinces with a budget between 2 billion to 3 billion riel [$500,000 to $750,000], and then we will start doing it in other provinces that contain the Tonle Sap,” he said, adding that funding for the project was still unclear, as it is not fully covered in the ministry’s budget.
The government has put a stop to more than 80 private fishing operations so far this year in an effort to stop over-fishing and allow time for fishing stocks to replenish, Mr. Thouk said, adding that since the beginning of the year, the government has collected about $25,000 in fines from illegal operations.
Lun Limthai, deputy governor of Kompong Cham province, said that his province already has about three fishing lots more than 330 hectares that are now protected.
“We have disseminated information about the sub-decree to all people already, and they understand they are not allowed to fish in the banned areas,” he said.