Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fishing nets killed rare river dolphin

Fishing nets killed rare river dolphin

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A rare Irrawaddy dolphin, one of less than 100 believed to exist, was found dead after becoming tangled in an illegal fishing net in Kratie province. KRATIE TOURISM DEPARTMENT

Fishing nets killed rare river dolphin

Kratie’s provincial Department of Tourism on Tuesday said an illegal fishing net caused the death of an endangered Irrawaddy dolphin in the province’s Sambok village.

Rangers spotted the 110kg carcass of a female floating in the sea around 2.27m from Anlong Preah Sang.

“We all are saddened by the loss of the dolphin. A 30m-long fishing net was found tangled with its tail and its carcass was bloated with a foul stench emitting from it,” the provincial Tourism Department said on social media.

The freshwater dolphins are regarded as sacred to the people living along the stretch of the Mekong between Cambodia and Laos, but have become increasingly threatened by illegal fishing practices, according to World Wildlife Fund for Nature Cambodia (WWF-Cambodia) country director Seng Teak.

“Dolphin researchers examined the [carcass] of the dolphin and determined that it was caught in an illegal fishing net within the [Anlong Kampi] protected area,” Teak told The Post. “The dead dolphin was fully grown and had already reached reproductive age.”

Teak said that illegal fishing practices along the Mekong River in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces were the main reason behind the unusually high number of Irrawaddy dolphin deaths in the area and, as a result, the Kingdom’s dwindling river dolphin population.

“In 2018, we recorded 10 newborn dolphins and this year we have recorded 11. This means there were only 21 newborn dolphins over the past two years, while 10 have died since 2018,” he said.

There are currently between 78 and 92 Irrawaddy dolphins estimated to be left in the Mekong River, Teak said.

Last year, WWF-Cambodia reported that the Irrawaddy dolphin population had experienced an increase for the first time since official figures began being monitored in 1997.

WWF-Cambodia and relevant authorities are to conduct another dolphin census next year to determine the exact number left before launching a conservation campaign, Teak said.

“To preserve the remaining dolphins, please halt illegal fishing activities, especially in dolphin preservation areas along the Mekong River,” Teak said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro