Deadline to vacate Phnom Penh’s largest lake set

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prek Pnov district authorities have notified local fishermen to remove lattices and ponds completely from the Boeung Tamok Lake by the end of this year. Hean Rangsey

Prek Pnov district authorities have notified local fishermen to remove lattices and ponds completely from the Boeung Tamok Lake by the end of this year.

The warning comes after years of delays.

Prek Pnov district governor Sok Sambath told The Post on November 19 time had run out.

“We have spoken for several years. But after repeated requests for delays, we asked for permission from the Phnom Penh municipal governor to set a deadline, who said we could give them until the end of 2020. This time, their equipment needs to be removed from the lake completely,” he said.

Prek Pnov administration chief Sim Sophorng said locals had signed contracts promising to remove the equipment from the lake by year’s end. The authorities did not want them to encroach on the lake anymore.

“We want to retain the Boeung Tamok Lake as a state property site,” he said.

Phnom Penh Fisheries Administration director Ngin Dy told The Post on November 19 that he did not have specific figures for lattices in the lake because people take them to raise fish continuously. Sometimes they keep them and sometimes they take them back. There may be about 100 lattices in the lake, he said.

“I don’t know the exact number. In the past, we used to retrieve them. There are some people from Boeung Samrong Lake who catch fish at Boeung Tamok Lake. It is therefore hard to know the exact number,” he said.

Sahmakum Teang Tnaut(STT) executive director Soeung Saran said local authorities and people have to discuss a specific solution that can be accepted from both sides.

“I think discussion is the only path to a smooth solution. We know the people who raise fish in Boeung Tamok Lake are mostly poor. They do this job for their daily income,” he said.

Saran said many also have to repay bank loans because they borrowed money hoping to make a profit to support their families.