Agriculture Ministry to repurpose confiscated fishing equipment

The Minister of Agriculture has instructed officials to use equipment confiscated during a crackdown on illegal fishing on the Tonle Sap lake for other agricultural and fishery activities instead of destroying them.

Since the campaign started last month, at least 13 fish traders have been arrested for fishery crimes in the provinces of Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang, Kampong Thom, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap. The crackdown has seen the confiscation of a lot of equipment used for illegal fishing.

The Facebook page of the Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon yesterday instructed the Fisheries Administration and the Provincial Department of Agriculture to build a case file for both the perpetrators and the confiscated equipment to be sent to the court. He added that some equipment should be used in agriculture after the court ruling.

“Some equipment that has been confiscated should be used in agricultural sectors after the court decision,” Sakhon said. He added that “In particular, engines and boats should be used to serve provincial fishery authorities.”

Pursat Provincial Governor Cheav Tay said the provincial authority has confiscated a lot of equipment in Pursat, and 10 people have been arrested for illegal fishing on the Tonle Sap lake.

“Some of the equipment used for illegal fishing will be destroyed, but we will use some in the agriculture department and some will be used as court evidence,” said Tay.

Tay added that the provincial authority has also urged people who are fishing illegally on the lake to voluntarily hand over equipment to officials.

Kampong Chhnang Provincial Deputy Governor Sann Yu said: “All the equipment used for illegal fishing that the provincial official gets is by patrolling or fishing families voluntarily handing over equipment.”

“Since the crackdown on illegal fishing on Tonle Sap lake, provincial officials have confiscated a lot of equipment used for illegal fishing,” said Yu.

Attention was drawn to illegal fishing after Royal Academy of Cambodia President Sok Touch informed Prime Minister Hun Sen that if unchecked fishing continues on Tonle Sap lake in the six illegal provinces, it will deplete national resources.

This came after the Prime Minister’s hard-hitting message on Wednesday when he ordered the governors of the six provinces to clamp down on illegal fishing on the lake, especially the main perpetrators behind the activity.

Following the Premier’s orders, governors and relevant authorities in all the six provinces have swung into action to crack down on illegal activities on the Tonle Sap lake.

Last week, the Ministry of Agriculture announced three hotline for people, including the media, to report illegal fishing activities on the Tonle Sap lake. The numbers are 012 995 665, 017 735 169 and 012 871 071.

On March 24, relevant ministries together with those from the six provinces met to discuss measures and strategies to solve this issue with a focus on regular patrolling and apprehending the main perpetrators behind these illegal activities.

  • Tags: fishing, Tonle Sap Lake

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