A draft law to govern the nation’s fishing sector is now in the National Assembly, and several fisheries officials said it is important that the proposed law be submitted for approval by the Assembly early next year.
Andrew Mittelman, a sustainable development and rural resource specialist with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said there is a “sense of urgency” among fisheries officials to see the new law—which he said would provide more management control to local authorities—approved.
“I think it’s well-understood that there’s been a legislative vacuum for some time,” Mittelman said. “The prior fishing law has been agreed to be outdated and in need of updating.”
The World Bank helped the Ministry of Agriculture’s Department of Fisheries produce the draft Fisheries Law in 1999.
This is the draft that is currently in the National Assembly, officials said.
Ly Thuch, chairman of a National Assembly rural development and environment commission, said his panel has read the draft law about five times already, and he will soon question Minister of Agriculture Chan Sarun about it.
“As I found out, the draft law contains enough measures that can ensure the sustainability of the fisheries sector in Cambodia,” Ly Thuch said, adding that he hoped the draft law is approved as written. “Millions of people live on fish when they cannot afford another meal,” he said.
Fish and rice are the staples of the large majority of Cambodians’ diets, and more than 1.2 million people in the Tonle Sap area alone depend on fishing for their livelihoods.