Being relatively new to the illegal fishing scene, it was surprising to see the extent at which it happens. Through MCC patrols, illegal gear such as trawling nets, electric boxes and rat-tailed traps, are often confiscated at quite a high rates with their location on the ‘front line’.
A few weeks ago, a speech by the deputy governor of Kep alongside a burning of all the confiscated illegal gear collected by both MCC and the fisheries administration was conducted and was broadcast all across Cambodia as well as on an international level. The location of this public display of intolerance was held within an illegal fishing community to drive the message home. From a personal perspective, it was slightly nerve wracking to be a foreign spectator to such a local conflict, watching as some fishermen were coming up and asking for their gear back, either through pity or bribery, and seeing their shame and shock when the fire started as they had to watch the money they had spent on it go down the drain. It’s a sight that I won’t forget but the necessity for such a public display was more important and a brilliant step in the right direction for such a young country to show its growing resilient attitude to a global issue.
Harriet Pringle BSc (Zoology) MSc student (Animal behaviour and conservation)