Residents in Sleng village, Siem Reap, have expressed their enthusiasm for the recent introduction of a fishway, anticipating positive outcomes for the local fish population. The province’s first fishway has officially started operating, leaving residents hopeful for increased fish availability.
Kan Saloeung, a resident of Sleng in Kralang commune, shared her joy about having a fishway in her village for the first time in her life. She expressed her optimism, stating that the fishway would contribute to reducing poverty by boosting the fish population in the area.
Initially, Saloeung was unfamiliar with the concept of a fishway. However, after participating in various training workshops, she gained knowledge about its benefits in preserving natural resources. She pledged to take care of the fishway to contribute to the conservation of the fish population.
Lok Voung, the commune chief, also admitted that he had no prior knowledge of fishways until he met with the engineers who were constructing one in the village. The engineers explained the process of fish movement through the fishway, emphasizing the safe passage to spawning grounds. Voung expressed his gratitude to the stakeholders for their support in preserving natural resources and ensuring a sustainable fish supply.
Voung further expressed his commitment as the commune chief to collaborate with village chiefs in establishing a committee responsible for managing the fishway and protecting the fish population. The aim is to increase fishery resources, especially for endangered species, and determine designated protected areas and fishing zones.
Fishways are a relatively new concept in Cambodia that allow fish to migrate freely from downstream to upstream in search of suitable feeding and breeding grounds. The fishway in Sleng serves as a model and has been installed with the support of the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research.
Khun Savoeun, an undersecretary of state at the agricultural ministry, highlighted that fishways have been successfully implemented in other countries and were introduced in Cambodia in late 2017. The fishway has gained increased support from residents compared to previous years. Initially met with curiosity and skepticism, residents now understand the purpose and benefits of fishways.
Savoeun emphasized the necessity of fishways for maintaining fish migration. Fish have habitats upstream and forage for food downstream. The construction of regulators, weirs, and dams disrupts fish movements, making the fishway a crucial solution to allow fish to reach their preferred locations.
The Cambodian population’s fondness for fish consumption adds to the significance of ensuring sustainable fishing resources. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries reported an increase in fish consumption in Cambodia, with individuals consuming an average of 52.4kg of fish annually in 2021.
As fishways prove their effectiveness, the government and relevant authorities are striving to secure funding for constructing additional fishways to further support fish migration and preserve fish populations.
Residents of Sleng village are hopeful that the fishway will have a positive impact on the local fish population, benefitting both the community and the environment.