The Council of Ministers last week banned finely woven fishing nets and batteries used to electrocute fish in order to protect already depleted fish stock, Council of Ministers spokesman Penn Thol said Friday.
The directive banning the nets, whose tiny holes are designed to catch more fish than is permitted by law, is intended to stamp out anarchic fishing practices, Penn Thol said. Illegal fishing and low water levels have seriously drained Cambodia’s stock of fish this year.
The directive commands all authorities to cooperate with fisheries officials to confiscate illegal fishing equipment.
“Electrocuting fish could cause serious consequences to the fisheries,” Penn Thol said.
Provincial fisheries officials said Sunday that efforts have been made to stop illegal fishing, but the use of contraband equipment, like batteries, is difficult to monitor.
Tat Bunchoeun, Siem Reap’s Agriculture Department director, said Siem Reap authorities have seized about 100 batteries since July. “Using batteries to electrocute fish is very damaging because it kills pregnant fish at this time,” Tat Bunchoeun said.
A recently imposed ban on commercial fishing, from July 1 to late September, also aims to provide pregnant fish the opportunity to spawn. Subsistence fishing is permitted beneath the ban.
Yous Mony, Prey Veng’s Agriculture Department deputy director, said he has also taken measures to eliminate the illegal use of batteries. But the problem continues in Prey Veng and Mesang districts, he said.
Fishermen in Battambang’s Mong Russei, Sangke and Ek Phnom districts are still electrocuting their catch, said Heng Piseth, deputy director of the Battambang Fisheries Office.
Deputy Director Heng Piseth.