Fishermen working in the off season nabbed by authorities

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Stung Treng authorities crack down on illegal fishing in Kbal Romeas Commune in June. STUNG TRENG PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION

During the 150 days of the closed season for fishing, Stung Treng Provincial Fisheries Administration have netted more than 1,000 fisheries crimes and arrested nearly 800 offenders for instruction and fines, as well as sending five cases to court, according to Srey Sam Vichet, head of the provincial Fisheries Administration.

He said the administration’s campaign to prevent illegal fishing during the last off season had seized and destroyed fishing equipment, including 4,210m of fishing nets and more than 1,000 fishing poles.

Of the fishermen arrested during the off season, 477 were instructed to sign a contract to stop using illegal fishing nets and 226 have been fined as they have repeatedly broken the law, he said.

According to Sam Vichet, 32 fish vendors were also fined and ordered to stop purchasing illegal stock, especially the purchase of rare and endangered species, such as the Thick Lip Barb, Mekonginaerythrospila, Labeodyocheilus and Osteochilusmelanopleurus.

“The other five cases involved 11 people, and they have been sent to court concerning the use of electric equipment to shock fish in the breeder conservation area,” he added.

He said that after instructing people on the fisheries law during the off season and observations by river guards and fishing communities, people are seeing that fishermen have contributed to better fish conservation than in previous years.”

However, during the open season, he called on all fishermen to continue to protect the important biodiversity in the water and the main species, respect the law on no fishing in protected areas, prohibited areas or using illegal fishing equipment that threatens rare and endangered species.