Stung Treng Province, which the Mekong River system flows through, is considered by Wonders of the Mekong researchers to be the last habitat for many fish species to spawn during the rainy season. Every year, breeding fish produce billions of larvae that drift to the floodplains and help replenish fish populations, especially in the Tonle Sap Lake.
On April 30, 2021, the Stung Treng provincial administration issued a notification of the closing of the fishing season for the Stung Treng fishing area. The official closing of the season will be implemented on May 1st and will extend through September 30th. During the fishery closure, the Stung Treng provincial administration states that all large fishing ventures must cease, and any type of commercial fishing practices will not be allowed. This includes the use of any type of gillnet, electrofishing, poison, or explosives.
However, fishermen can still fish for their families using traditional fishing gears such as basket traps, vertical and horizontal cylinder traps, cast nets, single hooks, vertical hanging vase traps, plunge baskets or cover pots, and bamboo baskets, as well as any other small-scale fishing gear. These fishing practices are allowed to support daily household provisions.
The Wonders of the Mekong River Project urges Cambodians to refrain from eating fish eggs as well as breeding fish that have eggs during the closed fishing season to allow the next generation of fish to be contributed to the population. To help keep the Mekong healthy, try not to buy breeding fish and fish eggs, and please discourage those who are fishing illegally during the closed season.
Story and photos: Chhut Chheana