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EU to provide $135M fishing industry grant

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Fishermen collect fish that were scooped up by ‘dai’ or stationary bag nets along Tonle Sap river last year. Hong Menea

EU to provide $135M fishing industry grant

The EU will provide the Cambodian government with a more than $100 million grant to promote the country’s fisheries sector, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday.

The announcement was made on the Prime Minister’s Facebook official page after he met with outgoing EU Ambassador to Cambodia George Edgar.

The grant is set to be officially signed on Wednesday.

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spokeswoman Srey Vuthy told The Post that the EU will provide a $135 million grant to be used for two projects.

The first project, which began last year and is set to promote the growth of inclusive sustainable fisheries, will receive $39 million over a six-year period until 2023, with approximately $5.5 million of the total granted by Agence Francaise de Developpement.

The second project is set to promote conservation and sustainable fishing across the whole sector, including both freshwater and seawater fishing, and will receive more than $96.6 million over five years until 2023.

“These grants will help drive the growth of aquaculture, as well help attract investors in aquatic production,” he said.

Om Savath, Fisheries Action Coalition Team Executive Director, said that the EU’s assistance will contribute to the protection of fisheries resources in the Kingdom.

“I think that this fund will make a significant contribution to state institutions and civil society organisations so they have more ability to help protect and conserve fisheries resources,” he said.

Cambodia has little capacity in the aquatic farming sector as it relies solely on naturally occurring fish rather than farmed fish, so the fund will help to improve this, he said.

Savath said that while authorities have been cracking down on fishing offenses over the past three years, law enforcement in this area remains limited.

“We see that the authorities have good cooperation with communities to patrol in protected areas, but enforcement of the law is loosening,” he said.

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