Ministry Asks Investors To Set Up Fish Farms Bond Market

samraong tong district, Kom­pong Speu province – Senior gov­ern­ment officials took a tour Satur­day of a new fish farm here that is ex­pected to produce Cambodia’s first catfish fillets for export. Of­fi­cials ex­pressed great hopes for the $5-mil­lion Ocean King farm.

Nao Thuok, director of the Agri­cul­­ture Ministry’s fisheries department, said that his ministry has been encouraging investors to set up fish farms to provide export fish ra­­ther than simply selling existing ri­­ver fish stocks.

“I think this is long-term planning for future fish stocks,” he said. “For the future, I envision Kom­pong Speu being turned into a fish farming center for international export,” said Chea Vuthy, spokesman for the Council for the De­velopment of Cambodia.

The CDC recently approved the farm’s business license, he said, ad­ding that this company will be the first to debone fish meat be­fore sending it to the US.

Ocean King, which has been ex­por­ting whole saltwater fish since 1997, is in the process of digging 10 ponds on 13 hectares in Ka­heng com­mune.

Ocean King General Manager Ty Theany said the farm will be able to produce 12 million fry per day and should eventually export 8,000 tons of fish fillets to the US at $3.6 per kg. At that rate, the company would be generating $28 million in sales from the farm.

“I have learned that the US market has a large demand for fish from Asia,” Ty Theany said.

Ocean King’s factory in Si­ha­nouk­ville will process the fish. Ty Theany expects to ship twice a year, starting in 6 months.

“I have no plans to sell to the do­mes­­tic market,” he said. “Our people do not really like fish fillet, they like fresh meat.”

Cambodia currently exports 40,000 tons of freshwater fish per year, generating over $35 million, and 60,000 tons of saltwater fish gen­­erating over $30 million, Nao Thuok said. The primary markets are the US, Australia, Hong Kong, Ma­­laysia and Singapore.

Chea Vuthy said the company will offer fish fry to neighboring vil­la­gers to raise at home.

Some local villagers said they are afraid the new farm will pollute the lo­cal lake they rely on for drink­ing water and fresh fish.

“We have been drinking the wa­ter in the lake for many years, and some­times we are able to fish,” said vi­llager Neang Mom, a mother of nine children. “When the com­pany dumps [dirty] water from the ponds into the lake, that will totally affect us.”


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