Chinese customs has given Cambodia three weeks to ensure that a list of shortcomings will be taken care of, as required by Beijing, before signing a formal protocol allowing the direct export of Cambodian “pra” fish to China.
“Pra” in the Khmer language quintessentially refers to Pangasius djambal, but could more broadly describe many – but not all – shark catfish of the Pangasius (P) genus (“po” types such as P larnaudii and P sanitwongsei being notable counterexamples) or other genera in the Pangasiidae family such as Helicophagus and Pangasianodon, but not Pseudolais.
It was not immediately clear which specific species could be exported.
A working group of the Fisheries Administration (FiA) held a series of virtual meetings with Chinese customs over January 20-28.
Thay Somony, director of the FiA’s Aquaculture Development Department, told The Post on January 31 that Beijing had given the green light for “pra” exports, but imposed some additional conditions that would require adjustments in fisheries management.
Exports will initially be limited to fish produced by three farms – in Kandal and Kampong Thom provinces, and in northern Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district – and processed by a facility in Sen Sok district’s Phnom Penh Thmey commune in the western part of the capital, he said.
A small number of shortcomings will need to be remedied at all four locations, and an updated report must be submitted “before February 25”, he said, suggesting a February 24 deadline.
The FiA has been busy preparing the paperwork and holding meetings with the owners of the farms and processing facility to fill in the gaps as needed, and send everything to Chinese customs as scheduled, he said.
“Once the three fish farms and processing plant have adapted to the conditions required by the Chinese side, an official protocol will be signed between the agriculture minister and the Chinese General Administration of Customs to enable the export of ‘pra’ fish to China.
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Author: Hom Phanet
Source: The Phnom Penh Post
Publication date: 01 February 2022