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Sihanoukville Pushing for Boat Registration to Improve Fishing Transparency

SIHANOUKVILLE: The Preah Sihanouk Administration is offering a 50% discount to boats for their 2023 registration. Registered boats will be equipped with a GPS tracker which governor says is to facilitate rescue in the event of accidents at sea. However, it is also a move to improve Cambodia’s international fishing status, which was given a red card by the EU in 2014, ending imports of Cambodian fish to the European market.

Sihanoukville Governor Kouch Chamroeun instructed municipality, district, and commune leaders to disseminate information widely on how to register fishing boats. He instructed qualified officials to help make the process quick, easy and transparent so that Cambodia can improve its fishing reputation with the EU.

He said, "Efforts must be made to educate fishermen in the community to register fishing boats in a timely manner during the incentive phase. After the incentives are done, each village, commune must be responsible of its fishermen to register fishing boats in the fishing community as soon as possible. ”

Director General of the Fisheries Administration, Pum Setha, confirmed that unregistered fishing boats in Sihanoukville are to be registered and equipped with GPS devices provided by the European Union in line with their illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) regulations. He stressed that the registration is important for the management of transparency, efficiency and rescue efforts at sea.

According to Cambodian law, trawlers are not allowed cast nets in areas that are less than 20 meters deep. Local authorities and the fishing community must determine the fishing grounds for fishing boats, such as trawlers, crab boats, and expand the fishing grounds in the community to jointly maintain, protect and preserve fishery resources and provide more variety for regional and export fisheries.

In Sihanoukville, there are an estimated 2,523 fishing boats, only 65 of which are registered. Cambodia is hoping that the push for registration will get them off the EU’s red card list, which it has been on for nine years.

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