Illegal fishing still a threat to Irrawaddy dolphins

Despite strict measures and awareness-raising campaigns dedicated to the protection and conservation of Irrawaddy dolphins, illegal fishing remains persistent on the Mekong River, casting a threat to the already-endangered freshwater species.

Mok Ponlok, deputy chief of Kratie Provincial Fisheries Administration, said yesterday the administration has, during the first half of this year, cracked down on 108 fisheries crimes involving Irrawaddy dolphins.

The offences cover the employment of illegal fishing methods, of which 86 cases reported the use of illegal drift nets, seven cases on snag fishing, 10 cases involving the use of illegal fishing gears and five cases on electrofishing.

So far this year, Ponlok said six Irrawaddy dolphin calves were born but two died. The number is relatively lower when compared with last year’s 13 newborns, six of which later died.

Kratie provincial governor Var Thorn in a press conference last month said the Irrawaddy dolphin population in the province is significantly low, with their number recorded at 80.

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Som Kanika