Cambodia processed some 350,000 tonnes of freshwater fish last year, Nao Thuok said, adding that between 20,000 and 50,000 tonnes were exported
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2008 03:06:23 -0800 (PST)
Fish production expected to rise 15 percent: officials
Written by Khouth Sophakchakrya
Friday, 05 December 2008
But experts warn that an increase in illegal fishing could be
partially responsible for the impressive catches this year
A GRICULTURE officials this week said freshwater fish production is
expected to increase 15 percent over last year, amid claims by
provincial fishermen and development organisations that illegal
fishing and land reclamation continues to threaten their livelihood.
Nao Thuok, director of the Department of Fisheries at the Ministry of
Agriculture, credited a more aggressive program of fish farming for
the spike in production.
"We expect that freshwater fish production will increase to 402,500
tonnes this year because the government has expanded the number of
fish farms nationwide to 154 and released millions of baby fish into
natural lakes," he told the Post on Monday.
Cambodia processed some 350,000 tonnes of freshwater fish last year,
Nao Thuok said, adding that between 20,000 and 50,000 tonnes were
He said Cambodia also imports between 4,000 and 5,000 tonnes per year
from Thailand, Vietnam and Japan, principally to satisfy rising demand
from Phnom Penh's high-end restaurants.
Despite an expected drop in exports in the future to meet local
demand, Nao Thuok said Cambodia's exports this year will likely top
But area fishermen and development aid organisations see a different
picture in the fisheries sector.
Mark Sithirith, executive director of the Fisheries Action Coalition
Team (FACT), said freshwater fish output this year took into account
fish caught illegally, skewing the figures.
He added that coming years' totals would likely drop as illegal
fishing depletes stocks and growing numbers of natural lakes fall prey
"Fishermen who live near Tonle Sap lake told FACT they now catch less
than 10 kilograms per day, with most of the fish being quite small.
But last year, they say they caught more than 20 kilograms per day on
average during the dry season," Mark Sithirith said.
Fisherman Yon Yeounin, from Kampong Chhnang province, said his village
faces shortages as the fish paste production season is set to begin.
"I think fishing output this year will be lower. Some of the flooded
forests were cut off for rice production," he said.
"In early December last year, I could catch 45 kilograms of fish per
day. Now I can catch only 25 kilograms in a day."
Aom Chhim, 56, a fisherman in Siem Reap province, also expected fish
production to drop this year and blamed the use of illegal nets and
reclamation of spawning grounds for rice paddy.
"The flooded forest areas that usually serve as spawning grounds were
used instead for paddy fields," he said.
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