Siem Reap provincial Fisheries Administration officials are rehabilitating and pumping water into streams, canals and reservoirs in the Boeung Pearaing breeder conservation area to save fish species.
Chan Tong, deputy head of the provincial Fisheries Administration, told The Post on June 6 that hot weather and low levels of water in the conservation area have caused the death of hundreds of breeder species, which has alarmed people.
“After seeing the dead fish, our team inspected the area and found that in some places the water is only 0.3m to 0.4m deep and only 0.7m to 0.8m at other places. The climate in the area is also very hot which reduces the amount of oxygen in the air and water,” he said.
According to Tong, his team has used a pump to transfer water from two reservoirs at the top of the lake into canals and breeding wells in the conservation area in an attempt to save the animals.
“For two days, we dug a canal below the lake, which is 5m wide and 1.5m deep, 100m long and pumped in water to improve the movement of fish. The number of dead fish has decreased as well,” he said.
Residents living near the conservation area have asked authorities to dig more water storage areas at the top of the lake to supply water during the dry season.
Soeun Sambo, head of the conservation department of the Tourism Association of Pea Reaing Community, told The Post on June 6 that while officials are pumping water from the reservoirs into the canal system and breeding areas of the lake, it is only a short-term solution.
“The water is now about 1.5m deep, but it could dry up again if we do not dig more ponds or wells to store more water in the upper and middle parts of the lake,” Sambo said.
Sambo added that since wildfires in May, the weather in the area has been very hot with no rain. The lake’s water has evaporated and it is shallow. In the space of just three days from June 2-4, nearly a tonne of breeder fish died. Some birds became ill and died as well.
“Our community is currently raising money to dig pumping wells and a large deep pond. We will pump water to the wells then transfer it to the lake and save those breeder fish,” he added.
He said that in the past, the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries had dug canals and small ponds, but they were too small to store enough water for fish in the dry season.