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Interview :56 - 12:03 Play :56 - More
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Zeb Hogan, Michael Sullivan  







Fish discussion.  

Sound Effects 29:52 - 33:02 Play 29:52 - More
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Boat dock ambiance  








Interview 42:06 - 1:31:49 Play 42:06 - More
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Fisheries officials, Michael Sullivan  







Fish discussion  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
13 Nov 2005

  • Cambodia
  • Tonle Sap river
  • 12.0529973   104.777298
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
  • Sennheiser MKH 20
    Equipment Note
  • 2X Sennheiser MKH 20.

Intvw with zeb on river and fishery dept guys at restaurant

58 -m -we are out of lake on tsriver what do you see

Z -104 the tsr getting narrower now there are still several ?? on either side of us the river total width is prob still 4 or 5 miles in width but grad getting narrower you can see more flooded forest now see quite a bit of land and quite a few fishermen


Z -basically there are 2 kinds of fishing gear that I have seen around this area. The first is just indv families out on boat fishing with gil nets and they are sticking to main channel of river and then on edges, on flooded forest you can see some of the fench filter traps that are used. Those are very interst in sense that they are passive traps a lot of times they are geometric shapes. A lot of times they are shaped like arrows or boxes they are almost like a maze for the fish. And the fish will be swimming along according to current and basicall will get pushed or as smwinning it gets into smaller areas traps easy to get into but diff get out of but so event the fish get trapped ¿MORE ON THIS¿..come by once a week and empty trap

M -most of fish caught in river caught in nets or traps up here

251 z -2 diff kinds of gears in sense that boats we are seeing are small scale they are gill nets family fishers but fench filter traps can be 5 or 10 miles long so those types of traps there are all kinds of size but typically the fench filter are commercial and owned for commercial purposes fish then sold

329 m -down river, in pp, on diys, eople that been telling us catch isn't what wanted to be attributed to people up here ¿they catch fish before gets to pp. do you buy that?

Z -could be a quest for poua¿but I am actually alarmed by what I am seeing here bc if you think about life cycle of a fish esp a large fish like gcatfish that those fish up here in tslake they need to survve for sev yrs in this area before they grow large enough to move down to the tsriver and the Mekong river to spawn so what we are seeing is that fish like gc has to survive where they are using small mesh gill nets that catch small gc and then that fish as moving down lake it has to get by arrow fence traps gill nets, barrages, the diys, so there are all these kinds of fishing gear there are so many chances for these fish to get caught before get to Mekong. So actually I am quite alarmed . what we saw in tsl especially 513

M -you are alarmed¿.if catching them that small up there likelihood hood they come down big is small¿.that what scared about not

533z -exactly. When I see those gill nets and I go to look at catch of gill nets it is small fish that have a short life cycle. But what we saw on tsl is that they are actually catching large size fish they are small they are young fish. Normally they would attain large sizes so fact they are catching large body fish when young is bad sign 600¿.so we don't know -fishing season for small fish on ts could still be quite good not sure but fact that seeing large body fish caugt up in lake when still young could explaing 636 I have been working out on tsriver for 5 yrs¿.well this is first yr on the tsriver where I haven't seen large fish in November 656 oh there you go -right in front of us is fench filtered trap. Looks like it is about a mile long and we can't see it from boat but if you were up high in boat what you would see is arrow shaped trap¿describes this¿. Fish hit fench and swim along end of trap you have smaller and smaller chambers and fish swimming along fench¿.more on this¿.this is a commercial trap

M -this is a commercial trap collecting fish for pp

Z -yeah and you can actually see behind the houses there is a big boat a bamboo noat and they will put all of fish in that boat more on this. It is actually elegant. They might have that trap designed so that the fish are forced to swim into their cage boat

M -so instead of a refrigerated truck to carry to pp you have your own little lake

M -it is cool you use what you have here

Z -yeah. And water is doing work for them as water drops the fish in thse tras they swim into these cage traps and when boat full fisherman takes boat to pp

M -floating villages -they are subsistence fishermen

Z -we have to go ask but typically these are subsis fishermen relying totally on fish for their protein and just looking to see -some of these houses could also be associated with large trap we see 923

M -commercial traps aren't necessarily the culprits ¿

Z -it is a combo of the commercial fish traps and the subsistence fishing -you have to look and see what they are catching¿.if catching large fish or small fish that is not something to be so concerned about but if we saw catching these young large body fish that is reason to be concerned. Concern if traps all across channel so no way to get by -they may use a very small mesh size for the net - something to be alarmed about. Certain instances it is legal. Some people complaining they are being built in places they shouldn't. but haven't been able to confirm that . that is just what rumor is on tsr it is diff to tell what is going on

M -before in pp you were worried about absence of large fish. You are clearly more alarmed by what you are seeing here in the tslake and in river right here. You werren't as worried a week ago having seen what you have seen in last 2 days 1122

Z -that is true what expect to see here is a lot of fishermen catching small fish that can handle fishing pressure that is what expecting to see. But what seeing that a lot of those fishermen catching those small body fish but also is that they are catching the river catfish and the 7 stripped bar and the other large body catf and these are species that can not handle a lot of fishing pressure and fact harvesting young. That is an explanation 1 why we aren't seeing them in diy 1203

Ambi here 1220 -1440 spaced omnis

1447 - 3053 spaced omnis on boat

3053 good music in bg (khmer sounding) getting off boat? Hear water running in bg

3726 in car with driver who has no idea where we are going bad khmer music


4048 m intro

HEAD DUDE (HD) 4232 fishery dept try to protect the natural resource partic for fish production for what we call wild catch from river lake and other wetland related to Mekong river system. As you know the fish production it has what we call the natural stock at the max at a certain level but pop increase every yr as growth rate is about 2% in Cambodia (M -human pop growth). So demand for consumption is high; increase yr by yr. some people complain they have less fish. Yes I recognize but the same lake you can catch 100 kilo you alone for one yr but after some time many people coming this lake -you have a child also catch fish from lake.

M -so prob isn't too few fish -fish numbers same - prob too many people

HD -yeah, too many people. And then you can't have 50 each and then you complain oh less fish actuallstock is same but the number of population increase. Of course there are some flux behind ## tons per yr total catch -catch so far and one more thing why flux so big¿¿relate very much to water level water region. When high flood fish can swim and move freely and happy but prob is for human being. Bc when flooded they destroy a lot of property a lot of crop ¿this is the gap of the fish production ###

4521 m -so you think fishery is healthy -just too many people

Hd -of course sometimes decrease a little bit¿..sometimes fish maybe decline bc fishing gear¿.the technology for fishing is very advance. Even the simple people they can convdet their battery to use as electrocute this ¿

M -it isn't just too many people chasing too many fish -it is too many people with more advance fishing techniq then before

HD -yes. For ex the mother of fish go along with thousand of fish with their baby. But the fishermen only wants the bigger one but they use electric shock and collect thousands 4702

Ms -you have been aggressive educate people about why that no good to do in partic with gmekong catfish people like zeb tagging fish¿..system which you pay people¿.been successful?

4733 HD -actually some confusion regarding the gcatfish. This one has the law regulation from our fisheries dept and govt to say that all the 21 species that are endangered not allowed to catch if you catch you have to release. No buying no award. Bc if you buy fish people try to catch to sell to you. So fisheries dept not allowed to buy. When you catch you have to release. If you cut it (?) and then don't release if we know we will catch you and report to court 4816 and cease all fishing gear.

M -policy how long?

HD - recently. Maybe last year ¿. Before last year -2 yrs ago

OTHER DUDE (OD) -according to fisheries law there is endangered species and the law prohib the fishers catch that¿..however we want to get the info from fishermen so we have conservation project with the calif university and he got PhDand buying fish to encourage the info. But nw we want to keep -sustain -but we keep buying and it is not sustaining¿.that is why

M -trying to understand this -against the law? Poor money to be made here -acknowledging that reality by having zeb pay for fish

5011 HD -we thank the org pay for fish. Problem is that you pay for fish people try to catch the fish it almost -we relase 6 very week the fish if people see it they want to sell again this is the prob and if you say no selling no buying if you sell you get in trouble and you go to court that is why this is best way. Of course we want to help people but we can't do bc then everyone wants to catch the gcatfish or maybe other species that have been prohibited

M -It was a good idea¿

HD - I just give you an example. This week the people catch gc about 200 kilo more than 2 meter long in kampuchan province. They inform us and we try to send our team to go zeb Hogan to go to see and maybe pay something for them fish caught at night and we can't go there so we wait until tomorrow morning and then moring go and fish already die bc when caught they tied tail and just give it water and fish exhausted very weak and died this is why mistake they are waiting for us to buy fish if you say no buying they have to release when caught they have to release soon ok you see this is the problem. We investigate so fishermen have seen it up and down it very weak¿.they catch and expect to sell to fisheries dept they will send some intl expert to buy from us so everyone want to catch it 5316

M -are you afraid u will drive this biz underground

HD -yes of course. If you know we catch you are in trouble.

M -gc don't depend on gcatfish if extinct doesn't matter

HD -5418 -yeah you can say so but we want to keep the nature sustain like dinosaur¿.talk about dino

OD -these are giant catfish endemic to the Mekong¿this is largest freshwater here¿.worth conservation to keep for next generated¿.also giant barb

M -ou think matter of duty

OD -occasionally catch. It is rare to catch. When capture one it cost money 1kg 1 dollar. ¿.. tourists come to Cambodia not only for Awat I think you will find amazing to see the landscape the lake¿ about flooded forest. We want to keep and I think tourist will come and take boat on flood plain. Imp for ecotourist. ¿¿ you hear sound of bird¿.

M -not just heritage but also economic future

5731 OD -also flooded forest also imp for fish habitat that is why tsl there are abundant fish about half of wildfish production of inland fisheries come from tsl so around 200000 pound per year and total production is about 400000 ton. And the unique hydrologically phenomenon that rarely any part of world that in wet season water flow from Mekong river to tslake and then in dry season from oct when water level is peak then water begin to flow out of tslake such water body for ???fish high fish production higher than still water

M -most imp fishery for seasia

OD -flat about floating village¿

10023 HD -there are in the Mekong river there are 6 countries come from China, Mynamar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia Vietnam and into the China Sea. There have been found that 1300 fish species available along the Mekong system but in Cambodia we found about 500 species so far but the expertise expect that there are more than 700 species in Cambodia (m says this with him) bc Cambodia compared to the other 5 country seems to be fish productivity higher than others bc we have tslake also the wetland area along the river. Particually it is flooded¿.dry up during dry season so this type of phenomena and all of those flooded areas have flooded forests¿.play v impt role for fish habitat growing, nursing¿.if we cut flooded forests about 10% then fish prod will use almost the same 10% this is very much related ¿.the life and the nature v much related

M -very rich aquatic resources¿many fish in Mekong come up tls¿..then go back home so countries taking something from you they are getting free ride

10258 HD -if you are talking about rich or poor I think cambdia suffer very much with long civil war from 1970 -1998 we just finished we just got free peaceful 7 8 yrs yeah. So as you know the civil war caused a lot of probs¿they fold down the whole system so know one live in pp at that time¿go into forest and cut down forest and

M -that helped

HD -yes, I recognize, but you can not take the fisheries as the ??? to devel whole country¿.bc the natl economic¿..many things¿of course natural reach? We believe so but cant help ?? control bc of civil war¿long civil war. And govt spent a lot of money¿

10455 OD you said people here is poor but we live ¿¿ fish most of them are small and cheap - if you change for cash little can get and buy some more import products¿.

10528 HD -this is maybe important for providing to protect the malnutrition. Been in many countries - the children don't have enough food. We are poor but noone malnutrition

M -bc you have a source of protein

10608 hd -in Cambodia we take eating fish about 70% compared to chicken, pork, beef, or other meet bc fish available we have a proverb -where there is water there is fish we want to keep this proverb sustain for a long time

M -and this is why fish is present is almost every aspect in the average Cambodian life -everything even money

HD -in rainy season some people caneven catch fish under house in nets. plenty of fish

M -so if 20% of population is dependent on fish as main source of protein in absence of fish what would happen?

HD -oh big problem. No fish. Of course there are some alternative

10721 OD -fish very easy. They live by themselves and then grow by self ¿.. just put net in and get them capture and take for food

M -do you believe that large fish are in trouble -on road to extinction? Or is this exaggerated

10833 HD -if we ignore how to manage it it may extinct from nature. That is why fisheries dept try best to protect this -all this species available for long run

M -I am a poor Cambodian¿catch a gcatfish¿

10906 HD -people don't expect to catch this type of endangered species to support family there target species are other 700 species . not only this species

M -but like finding a bag of money

HD -yeah. This is the problem in finding the poor rural area if you sell to people other people you are alright but if we know we will catch otherwise this is no exception case.

M -but won't make harder for people studying migratory patterns of fish if no policy¿how gather data if no incentive

11050 HD -in this case v diff to say. Of course many some people catch it and sell in black market. Sometimes we know sometimes we don't. caught owner go to court

M -this isn't new rule just choosingto inforce now

11142 HD -batteries they can kill you can catch a lot of fish and small mesh mosquito net another destructive fishing net¿the mosquito net -the legal

OD - Talk about fishery law and bamboo fence and gil net size that is legal. 2.5¿.when they fish use bigger net size mostly small then use small

HD -there are some change before more big fish now big fish become less but small fish increase so tall figure remains almost the same but in terms of value. Bc one kilop of bigger fish it cost for example $10 but small fish 50 cent so

M -volume same value is less

OD -we have comparison ¿ 1940 the Cambodia pop is 3.5 million and habitat people living around the tslake is 0.36 mil people and we have a catch per day per fishers is 300 kilo a day but now we calculate it and the living inhabitant around the lake is 1.2 mil so about 3 4 times as much as in 1995 (not sure about these dates here) catch per fisher is 200 kilo per yr (static on cable) in 1940s 200 thou ton, but now more than double so you se ¿max affordable year

M -prob I see ¿. Corruption¿..

11700 HD - blah blah¿.

M -any power

HD -when send to court it is up to court we have no jurisdiction..depend on court¿.11800 what we send along to court is report¿..maybe 1 mil real¿.seize fishing gear¿. Or not allow you do fishing¿many way to do it. Not just free back

M -would you not like more power to issue fine

HD -according to our current law there are some certain level that we can fine bc most f the cases say illegal fishing¿.sometimes using small battery to catch gcatfish. Doesn't mean bring you to jail bc of small thing we give you advise you should not do this and so you get fine a certain level that is all. Go to court could be some serious problem¿.

M -read that suggest damming by Chinese ¿.is prob for you

HD -12045 yes of course for you when you change something you change ecosystem. If flood sometimes during dry season when they release the water this is problem and fish can not migrate for spawning, etc actually you know along Mekong have 4 country Mekong river commission lao, viet and china¿but they are upstream we try to encourage them as dialogue partner but they still are not agree to get in. so when you want to do something you agreement from all downstream countries but other 2 countries do what ever they want we try to protect but sometimes you cant

M -small big prob?

HD -of course when you do some changing there is some neg and some pos things in terms of -deepen river channel for shipping for other biz it is good but in terms of fish it change neg impact in terms of fisheries but positive in terms of economic devel.

MS -tradeoff

12300 HD -fisheries in Cambodia and other countries along Mekong river seem to be new thing for us in terms of research activity bc it is still there are many things behind we don't know yet particular like biology like fish some of them you don't know where breed and come their ecology and their biology. Some species still instinct still blinc for us how they breed spawn where live where move to during wet season¿..that is why doing tagging like zeb told you¿

M -your govt is very young

HD -you can say that. Develop country everywhere in world for research aspect pay less attention for rich country yes now a day our research activity from outside money¿lists orgs¿.

OD -fisheries very imp for food for poor and livelihood ¿still rely on wild fish ¿keeping environemtn for higher fish productivity very impr for poor people for food

HD -other country do aquaculture¿ about aquaculture¿in Cambodia people expect very much base on natural stock and the govt policy for fisheries aspect encourage people t o do aqualculture devel in rural areas ¿. This is another alternative to release pressure from nat catch¿one more thing we want. 12659 we want to fufill the need of the demand of the people we need to eat every day and the number of the people population increase everyday so pop higher


12730 SURLIMSONG director of inland fisheries research and development institute in fishery dept in min of ag forestry fisheries.. AKA HD

12735 LIAMSOPA deputy director of institute and also director for the Mekong capture fishery Mekong river commissionry dept AKA OD

OD talks about the need for participation

JOSH asks them about how they enforce protect the fisheries¿.they have people out

HD -n fisheries dept 8 divisions -one is inspection division -inspectors spread everywhere if no inspectors people do what they wish 13036

SPACED OMNI Ambi in room
13410 - 13539

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