Deep Reform on Fishing Lot, Inflation to Stay Below 3%

In general, after the abolition of fishing lots, we see that conflicts arising from the management of the fishing lots and popular fishing activities have died down and the people appear to benefit from this policy. It is a development to everyone’s satisfaction that there is no deflation of fish in the market and therefore the price of fish in the market has not gone up. All of us remember that when one item in the market closely relating to the people living condition fluctuates, change of other prices is anticipated. However, since we introduced the deep-down reform in the field of fishing lots management, the fish price in the market has stabilized. This year we expect the inflation rate to stay under 3%. Last year, while 6% was our calculated inflation rate, because of abundance of fish in the market, a great source of protein for many Cambodians, the inflation rates rose only to 5.5%. This year, once again, the inflation rate in Cambodia is somewhere below 3%. We have only one month to go, so I would not anticipate any risk within the remaining time.

You may note that if the price of fish goes up, the prices of beef, pork and other sources of protein item would also go up. According to some studies, the Cambodian people consumed a big amount of fish compared to others recorded. While we are in this great state, I demand the provincial authorities as well as related agricultural and fishery institutions to take precaution measures. As many TVs reported, there have been some anarchic fishing in various places not in Tonle Sap area but in the province of Kompong Cham for instance. I would anticipate your effective measures and actions. I would not wait for April (the time when fishing activities are in low season) to get your report. You should do better.

We have not come to the best fishing time yet because we are still anticipating more rains. Now we are to face with the Bopha storm and that should bring rains for some days. After that, we will certainly be meeting with rather chilled weather. Fishing will then start. We must take preemptive measures to review the fishing tools. All provinces with fishing zones must be alert. We must guarantee that our people get the amount of fish they rationally need. This is not to carry out in respect of any fish merchant’s interest.

From Abolishing Fishing Lots to Strengthening of Fishing Community

I would expect HE Yim Chhay Ly is the first to get his hands on it because it is your area of responsibility. I would not agree that these law un-abiding people are stronger than we are. We could annul the fishing lots management, which was 104 years old, and we did it for the people. I think you all act only when the Prime Minister arouses you. I want you to do your work as I already did all that the Prime Minister should do. However, to look after fishing abuses should not be something the Prime Minister is doing. I urge HE Bin Chhin to take inspection measures to ensure that the abolition of the fishing lots will give benefit to the people. I warn every party not to make blunders that would cause the detriment of the policy. I am of the opinion that if you all are not working to that anticipated effect, you are challenging me. This is to understand that while I am abolishing the fishing lots, it has led to fishing anarchy. With this anarchy, the Royal Government will have to reestablish the fishing lots.

I am demanding your actions. May you all be not too strict and too loose? It has not happened in the area of Tonle Sap and I demand the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) to take active measures on the issue. Take for instance, the fishing lots in Kompong Cham, Prey Veng and Kandal provinces, where fishing lots are no longer there, you must go there to see if those fishing contractors who lost their deals because of the Royal Government policy of fishing lots reform go back there to create troubles? In some places, former fishing merchants nominate their names as leaders for the fishing community again. I think you all with PH D degrees and vested power should be able to do that. I am sure there is a possibility that you neglect and/or perhaps in some instances acting in collusion too. My message is we must ensure that people benefit truly from the fishing community and the fishing community belongs to the people not to the fishing merchants.

Deputy Prime Minister HE Bin Chhin must deploy your people to conduct inspection on the implementation by Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly’s people. This is what I call monitoring mechanism. Many of you come reporting me only positive things so I need another mechanism to monitor that. I need to know the truth. I have one Deputy Prime Minister on the implementation side and another on the monitoring side. You should pay heed to the tasks. Do not take undue actions, which I used to say: “closing the horse’s shed while the horse are already galloping outside.”

We missed two fishing dates already – the fifteen day on new moon and fifteen day on full moon of the months of Asoj and Kadek. We still have two more – the fifteen day of new moon and fifteen day of full moon of the months of Kadek and Meak. I anticipate swift and preemptive actions before it is too late for our measures. We must, I repeat, ensure that the people truly benefit from the policy. I would not wait for your annual report in March or April. Let me warn again that do not play “making the meat raw” deal with me. I would not let you say that Hun Sen abolished the fishing lot management was not a good thing. I would not agree with your argument and reestablish the lots at all./.