Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen plans to grant benefit cards to dolphin zone villagers

Hun Sen plans to grant benefit cards to dolphin zone villagers

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Irawaddy dolphins seen here frolicking in the Mekong River. WWF CAMBODIA

Hun Sen plans to grant benefit cards to dolphin zone villagers

Irrawaddy dolphin conservationists have expressed strong support for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s recommendation that the authorities provide ID Poor cards for people living in the Irrawaddy dolphin protected area.

Hun Sen was addressing an annual meeting of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, held on March 24 to review its 2022 work results and set plans for 2023.

“We should provide them with ID Poor cards as an incentive for them to cease fishing. If we do not do so, they will continue to use fishing nets, as it is their only source of income. The government can afford to support them, and it is necessary to protect the dolphin population,” he said, while addressing the March 24 annual meeting of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

“Administrative measures alone are not enough. I want you all to determine how many families are still fishing in the protected areas, and come up with a plan to create new jobs for them,” he added.

Ouk Vibol, director of Fisheries Conservation Department of the Fisheries Administration, said on March 26 that the government has prioritised removing addition environmental pressure from the habitat of the Irrawaddy dolphin.

“This is vital work. There are almost 100 canyons in the Mekong River that are potential breeding grounds for the dolphins, and over 1,300 fishing families in the same areas. More than 90 per cent of dolphin deaths have been attributed to fishing nets,” he added.

He said that the issuance of IDPoor cards – and the finding of new livelihoods for local families – would help to ensure that the alarming death rate of the species would decline.

“I support the prime minister’s recommendations of providing IDPoor cards and offering alternative employment. These seem like the most sure-fire ways to end the illegal fishing practices which threaten the Irrawaddy dolphin population,” he concluded.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Cambodia country director Seng Teak agreed that providing cards and offering new livelihoods to local families was essential, if the rare mammals were to be saved.

“I do think it is important to make certain that the families are genuinely impoverished, however,” he said.

Teak added that he would like to see the authorities monitoring the families to make sure that they did not return to illegal finishing.


  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Famed US collector family return artefacts to Cambodia

    In the latest repatriation of ancient artefacts from the US, a total of 33 pieces of Khmer cultural heritage will soon return home, according to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. In a September 12 press statement, it said the US Attorney’s Office for the

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • Kampot curfew imposed to curb ‘gang’ violence

    Kampot provincial police have announced measures to contain a recent spike in antisocial behaviour by “unruly’ youth. Officials say the province has been plagued by recent violence among so-called “gang members”, who often fight with weapons such as knives and machetes. Several social observers have

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • Manet touches down in Beijing for high-level meetings

    Prime Minister Hun Manet arrived in Beijing on September 14 for his first official visit to China, where he is slated to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and meet other leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping. Upon his arrival, Manet laid a wreath at the Monument