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Cambodian Communities Complain Illegal Fishing Damaging Livelihoods

Scientists for the Mekong

In this video, community leaders at Kampong Khleang in the Tonle Sap Lake, expose to us (Scientists for the Mekong) the corruption of authorities receiving bribes and allowing illegal fishing by Vietnamese ‘trawlers’ on the Lake, plus the impacts on their own livelihoods.


(Video in Khmer and translated into English after they speak).


They also told us (not in this video) that there can be 6 Vietnamese boats fishing at a time with nets 900m to 1 km long, that these boats have a set catch between 8-10 TONNES of fish, and they won’t leave until this amount is fished!

Recently, the Cambodian government has changed the Laws prohibiting the use of fishing nets longer than 100m in the Tonle Sap Lake.

While we agree with Dr. Baran (WorldFish) that longer nets put more stress on fish populations in the Tonle Sap Lake, it is a travesty of justice to punish the literally poor fishermen (who fish for survival), yet allow Vietnamese “trawlers” to illegally overfish & damage the Lake and nursery wetlands for financial gain…

It is this corruption that needs to be targeted as the damage caused by trawlers’ relentless fishing and destructive equipment (1km nets) far exceeds the damage that artisanal fishing by single individual fishers with 300m net can do to fish populations!


Scientists for the Mekong is an independent multi-disciplinary group of scientists who work free of charge for the benefit of the Mekong River ecosystem and its communities.

Image: Fishing at Tonle Sap, Wikimeda