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Tonle Sap fishing crackdown picks up pace, intensity

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Kampong Chhnang provincial authorities bust illegal fishermen on the Tonle Sap Lake in Cholkiri district on Wednesday. POLICE

Tonle Sap fishing crackdown picks up pace, intensity

The inter-ministerial commission for the prevention and suppression of fishing crimes in the Tonle Sap Lake has continued to intensify patrols, inspections and searches as it cracks down on fishing crimes throughout the flooded forest areas around the lake.

This part of the lake has been severely affected by illegal fishing in the last few years, and the commission aims to rejuvenate fishery resources.

Fisheries Administration spokesman Ung Try said on May 5 that the commission held a May 2 meeting to review and evaluate the results of its work in suppressing fisheries crimes. It also set plans for the long-term implementation of strict enforcement, to ensure the sustainability of the lake’s resources.

He said Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sokhon had spoken at the meeting. Sokhon urged all stakeholders at the national and sub-national level to cooperate more closely in operations against fisheries crimes in their jurisdictions.

“At the meeting, the commission agreed on two main measures: immediate, and medium and long term,” Try said.

He added that the meeting brought together National police chief Neth Savoeun; National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha; the governors of the six provinces around the lake, and members of the commission. They each presented reports on the results of their efforts, which intensified following orders from Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The reports said that in the two months from March 2 to May 1, authorities had arrested and built case files against 44 suspects and referred them to court. Of the suspects, 24 had been remanded into custody, while the remaining 20 had already appeared in court charged with illegal fishing. A total of 4,326 people had been reprimanded for collecting freshwater clams or casting their nets in the Mother Fish Conservation Area.

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