Seafood Exports to Japan, England Planned

Cambodia has plans to export seafood to Japan and river fish to England, a commerce official said last week.

“We already have Japanese markets for our shrimp, lobster, crab and squid,” said Sok Sipha­na, secretary of state for the Mini­stry of Commerce.

Sok Siphana said the ministry met with local business people in late January to discuss seafood exports. Discussions have also been had with a delegation from a British company on new markets in England.

The company, which was not identified by the ministry, listed 10 kinds of fish that it would require Cambodia to export, Sok Siphana said. The key problems for Cambodia, he said, will not be supplying the fish, but packaging, administration and paperwork associated with the plan.

“Cambodia will have no problem with quantity of production to be exported,” Sok Siphana said. “But Cambodia will need to look for technical assistance for proper packaging which will keep sea­food and fish fresh.”

He said he is not clear yet how many tons of seafood will be required by Japanese markets, but said that he believes the exports will start sometime next year.

Nao Thouk, director of the Fi­sher­ies Department for the Mi­nistry of Agriculture, said that for the last two years, Cambodia ex­ported 35,000 tons of fish to Thailand, Singapore, the US, China, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The Cambodian government makes between $4 million and   $5 million each year from these exports, he said

The ministry is planning to call on local fishermen to form a “me­dium scale” fishing association that can collect the fish for export.

Minister of Agriculture Chan Sarun said that “Cambodia’s seafood and fish will not meet the total demand of the Japanese market,” but will help fill a void.

But he also pointed out that the amount of fish and seafood being harvested commercially from Cambodia’s waters has been decreasing every year due to an increase in illegal fishing.

Nao Thouk complained that Thai and Vietnamese fishermen continue to encroach on Cambo­dian waters. He estimates that Cambodia might be able to catch more than 50,000 tons of fish per year if illegal fishing was stopped.


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