Because the fish yield in Cambodia is directly related to the extent of floodplain overflow during the monsoon season, officials said on Monday that they expect this year’s fish catch to be a good one.
Mekong River floodwaters took a long time to recede this year, which allowed for nutrient enrichment of the river’s waters and high survival of fish fry, experts said.
Nao Thuork, director of the fisheries department for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, said that last year’s monsoon season brought a deeper flood but that it receded faster from the country’s highly productive floodplains resulting in a shorter spawning period for fish species.
“Compared with the flood level last year, this year’s flood was 2 centimeters lower [than last year’s 9.97 meters]. But we saw the flood lasting longer this year so fish could spawn and live in a larger wild area,” he said.
Nao Thuork confirmed that at least 40 fishing areas in Phnom Penh, Kandal and Takeo waters will be open to commercial fishing activities from today until June.
The areas are each expected to collect an average of 20,000 tons of fish for the year.
Other areas north of the Chaktomuk waters in Phnom Penh, which were opened to commercial fishing on Oct 1, have brought in a total of at least 16,000 tons of fish so far.
Fisheries expert Touch Seang Tana, a member of the Social, Economic and Cultural Observation Unit at the Council of Ministers, said that as a result of more effective government crackdowns on illegal fishing, Cambodia may see an abundant catch of fish this year.
Fisheries experts from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said that the main reason for the wealth of Cambodia’s fisheries is the monsoon season’s rainfall and floods, which provide the habitat and essential food items for larval fishes.
According to estimates from the National Institute of Statistics, fisheries contribute 16 percent to the national GDP.