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Livelihood of villagers along Cambodia's Tonle Sap lake threatened by Say Mony October 10,2012   |  Source: VOA

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

 

© VOAnews.com

Theme(s): Communities and Organisations.

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