News / Asia

Illegal Fishing Threatens Tonle Sap Lake Villagers' Livelihood

Say Mony
Villagers on Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia, who depend on fishing for subsistence, say their livelihoods are threatened by illegal commercial fishing, which continues after a government ban.  And they say authorities in charge of enforcing the ban are being bribed to look the other way. 

Despite a government ban on commercial fishing across Tonle Sap Lake - the largest lake in Southeast Asia -- fishing communities say bribery of corrupt local officials has meant the illegal practice is actually increasing.

The ban was meant to decrease the rapid overfishing of the lake, a major source of food for much of the country.

Mao Penh, the head of one local fishing community, says law enforcement officials are “colluding” with illegal fishing operations.

“One side took the money and closed their eyes while the other went for the illegal fishing.  The law enforcement officials are colluding with offenders; that's 50-50. This is what's happening in my village these days,” he said.

This commune, made up of five floating villages, is home to more than 2,000 families -- most of whom depend on fishing for their daily lives.

Commune chief Bun Peng admits that bribery is a problem.  He says there is no legal framework to enforce the ban on fishing -- but then said he would “eradicate” the practice by the end of the year,  without elaborating.

“Institutions or officials are still involved [in taking bribery] in my commune, but from now on till the end of 2012, I will absolutely eradicate them,” he stated.

Meanwhile, local officials from the Ministry of Agriculture’s fisheries administration deny such corruption takes place.

“Regarding this issue, the authority like the fishery administration are not involved or do not collude with offenders; no, there is none,” said Yuth Tan, deputy chief of fisheries at Preak Tol.

And yet, illegal fishing occurs here. A visitor can see it happening.  A Vietnamese fisherman says recently that his group had paid a local official named “Ly” around $50 in exchange for a “permit” to use an illegal net hundreds of meters in length.

A nearby fisheries official named Mao Peng Ly denied being involved.

“I cannot accept it because I do not know the offenders," he explained. "And I never was involved with them.”

In the gap between what is happening and what fisheries officials say is happening are the local villagers who rely on fish to survive - and who say they want the illegal practices stopped.

Video narrated by Wayne Bowman.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

Key stock indexes in London, Paris and Germany were down nearly three percent, while US market indexes were off around two percent in early trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Muhammad Tariq Ghouri from: Pakistan
October 15, 2012 4:04 AM
Now a days corruption is main problem all around the world, It is not only Cambodia's issue. When bribe culture grow in any society, it's negative effects hit the poor life dangerously, and they became more poorer, It throw the economy of the county in uncertain condition.

by: Anonymous
October 10, 2012 11:59 PM
Cambodia is a country where corruption is an institution., It can't be eliminated regardless of who is running the country. It exists from the top all the way down to the villages. This is the case in many countries, but few examples are as endemic as Cambodia.

by: kd
October 10, 2012 7:05 PM
It is going to be tough to eradicate corruption there if all officials and institutions are involved. Under hun sen's administration, it is impossible to rid of corruption if the top people like hun sen and his cronies all corrupted themselves.
In Response

by: Kk
October 11, 2012 5:37 PM
Yes, it starts from the top. Hun Sen and his advisers are at the top of everything and is continually doing damage and more damage as each day passes.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs