No hooks, lines or sinkers: Cambodians go traditional in fishing ceremony

Phys Org –

Wielding handmade bamboo baskets and nylon nets, hundreds of people waded thigh-deep into a muddy lake in eastern Cambodia on Sunday for an annual fish-catching ceremony where only traditional tools are used. The ceremony is held each year in eastern Tboung Khmum province after the crop harvest to commemorate the country’s proud fishing history, said local chief Uch Yoeun.

The event—held in Choam Korvean commune, about 250 kilometres (155 miles) from the capital Phnom Penh—attracts hundreds of farmers from surrounding villages. They carry weaved baskets of different shapes, eager to try their hand at trapping the freshwater catfish and snakehead fish in the muddy Boeung Kroam lake.

“It has been a tradition since our ancestors’ time,” Uch Yoeun told AFP, adding that only one rule applies in this mass fishing event.

“We only allow traditional fishing tools to be used.”

Authorities guarded Boeung Kroam lake for more than a month before the event—to prevent illegal fishing and ensure there would be enough to catch at Sunday’s event. It kicked off in the early morning with hundreds of villagers racing to the lake, sporting straw hats and traditional scarves to shield themselves from the blazing sun. The mood was light-hearted and many opted to grill the morning’s catch by the lake over a smoldering fire.

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