Fisheries Administration, WWF Call for Rigorous Law Enforcement to Save Endangered Fish from Extinction

AKP Phnom Penh, July 02, 2020 —

The Fisheries Administration and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) made a plea to all relevant authorities to take urgent law enforcement actions on all illegal fishing and trade in endangered fish along the Mekong River, on the occasion of the National Fishery Day (July 1).

“The trade in endangered fish species is posing a serious threat to Cambodia’s fisheries resources, especially the mega fish species and the Mekong Irrawaddy Dolphins, which are considered as the Kingdom’s living treasure the Fisheries Administration, provincial and local authorities, WWF and other relevant partners have been working to protect from disappearing,” said WWF in a press release AKP received this morning.

Following the completion of the rapid assessment, the Fisheries Administration and WWF put forward recommendations necessary to strengthen the implementation of the fisheries law against illegal fishing and fish trade, it added.

“Fishermen, fish buyers and middlemen do not understand much about the fisheries law and relevant legislations on the protection and management of fisheries resources, especially endangered fish species that need our protection from extinction. I would like to urge all relevant authorities to increase the awareness raising about the fisheries law and associated legislations in force among the fishing communities and local people living along the Mekong River, as well as engaging their participation in the protection of fisheries resources and encouraging them to diversify their livelihoods activities,” said H.E. Eng Cheasan, Director General of the Fisheries Administration.

A report on law enforcement by Kratie and Stung Treng Fisheries Administration cantonments, river guards and WWF showed an increase of fishing activities using cast nets, gillnets, floating/fixed nets, long-line hooks, electrofishing and fishing with poison in and around conservation zones prohibited by the law.

“I would like to appeal to authorities at all levels to tighten up their law enforcement efforts and enhance regular monitoring mechanism of activities at the fish markets and trading points, while imposing severe penalties on those who illegally fish in the river sections prohibited by the law as well as those involved in trading endangered and mega fish species in Cambodia,” said Mr. Seng Teak, WWF Country Director.

According to the press release, the key recommendations from the rapid assessment included: 1/ conduct outreach and awareness activities aimed at educating fish sellers and traders about the Law on Fisheries and relevant legislations that include the IUCN Red List and the endangered fish species list of Cambodia, as well as campaigns encouraging the protection of endangered fish species; 2/ further investigate electrofishing activities and clearly identify the illegal fish trade supply chain; 3/ with participation of local authorities enforce the fisheries law to stop both fish harvest and trade routes from illegal fishing activities (e.g. electrofishing) along the river and selling endangered fish at the market; 4/ mobile patrolling teams led by chiefs and deputy chiefs of river guards shall take action on illegal fish trade which include endangered fish species.

Mr. Seng Teak also reaffirmed WWF’s readiness to support and cooperate with the Fisheries Administration, Kratie and Stung Treng Fisheries Administration Cantonments, Provincial Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and all other relevant provincial authorities to implement the recommendations and other urgent measures with the aim to promote effective law enforcement.

By C. Nika