Water transfers hope to rescue treasured Siem Reap catfish in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH (Phnom Penh Post/ANN): The Apsara National Authority (ANA) and the Prasat Bakong district authority in Siem Reap province are transporting water to the Prasat Bakong pond to save a group of catfish, a big tourist attraction in Cambodia, after 12 of them recently died due to a water shortage.ANA spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on Saturday (June 13) that the joint working group used six lorries to transport water to the pond with the intent of saving catfish and other fish at risk due to the shallow water.He added that low water levels in the pond are a recurring problem because the pond is not connected to other water sources and relies on rainfall to be replenished.“Currently, the Prasat Bakong pond is not yet dry, but the shallow water and hot sun has killed some of the fish. So we will transport water from other sources to save the fish first and then wait for the rain,” he said.District governor So Platong said he led the water transport team, which worked all day on Wednesday.Platong said the team made enough trips to transfer more than 20 lorries worth of water.The team will continue to transport water on Friday or Saturday to save more fish in the pond, he added.Authorities have also been digging two additional wells nearby to enable people to pump water directly into the pond.“The pond in Prasat Bakong depends on rainfall. The pond has never had a water shortage like this, and there haven’t been dead fish before. Last year we restored the pond but we need to find a better solution,” Platong said.Fresh News quoted an anonymous resident living near Prasat Bakong as saying catfish started dying in the pond on Monday.He said he had never seen dead giant catfish in the pond before, and the water levels are the lowest he has ever noticed.He added that the catfish may have been released into the pond by authorities or monks when the water levels were higher.Some of the dead fish had been buried while some of the surviving fish were taken to other ponds or are still living in shallow water.In Cambodia, he said people do not eat the fish because they are also believed to be guardian spirits.Some people claim the smell puts them off eating them as well. – The Phnom Penh Post/Asian News Network
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