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- March 14, 2021 12:46 PM
16,000 fishes were released in the Bassac river, Takhmao city
PHNOM PENH – The River Ocean Cleanup Organization held the World Fishes Independent Day on April 3, as a campaign to raise awareness on fish and a call for action to deal with the decline of fish population due to illegal fishing and pollution.
Around 500 participants took part in the event in Takhmao city, Kandal province, collecting garbage along the river. The event was also the opportunity for the organization to release 16,000 fishes in the Bassac river, a first release of a bigger campaign that aims to put 16 million fishes back in the Cambodian waters, as a symbol representing Cambodia’s total population.
Nou Sovann, executive director of the River Ocean Cleanup Organization said that too many people are catching fish, while only a few are releasing fish. Meanwhile, natural fish is also declining due to natural factors and human activities, he added.
“The irresponsible behavior of dumping garbage into the waterways causes water pollution and affects the fish population. We need to stop it and join together to protect our fish,” Sovann said, adding that fish provide 60 percent of Cambodians’ protein intake.
Speaking of the World Fishes Independent Day, Sovann said the event was held to gain support from all people across the globe by releasing fish into natural lakes.
By engaging with students and local people, the campaign aimed at raising awareness of the preservation of natural biodiversity, keeping water resources clean and increasing fish production to meet food security and nutrition requirements.
“To preserve the biodiversity in the water, we need to release fish, clean up the environment, educate people and enforce laws,” said Sovann. “River is not a trash bin.”
As a way to create emulation among the participants, the trash collected along the river could then be exchanged for gifts provided by the River Ocean Cleanup Organization.
Takhmao city governor Nou Sovannara said that he hoped the event would help address the garbage issue and promote natural biodiversity in the river by collecting the garbage and releasing fish.
To clean and collect trash in the Bassac river, the organization used a “Moringa by Landmarken” garbage collection boat. This specific boat carries German technology and is capable of swallowing 20 tons of submerged litter per day through a conveyor belt dragging trashes from the water. Sovannara said such a system was really helpful since some garbage was lying deep under the water and continues to pollute the aquatic environment.
“Exchanging the garbage for gifts is also a good strategy to engage young students to join cleaning along the river, and understand the value of environment,” he added.
By making Takhmao clean, the governor also called on people not to throw trash away otherwise they will be punished. He also appealed for further support from NGOs and the general public to actively take part in preserving natural resources and addressing trash pollution.
According to Director General of Fisheries Administration Eng Chea San, the fishery sector has long played an important role for the Cambodian people as a necessary source of nutrition in the daily diet and an important source of income, with more than six million people working in the fishing sector.