The traditional hunting event witnesses the attendance of 98,000 worshipers

Women participate in a traditional fishing event in Tbong Khmum Province on February 17. Tbong Khmum Amini

Nearly 100,000 people flocked to Lake Buyong Trabing Kram, in Memut District, Tboung Khmum Province on February 17 to fish in a traditional ceremony. Officials said the number was 50 percent higher than last year, and one official suggested there may have been more people in the lake than fish.

Owen Reith, director of the Tbong Khmum Province Tourism Department, said on February 18 that the event was attended by several provincial leaders and a large crowd of people, including some foreigners.

He added that the crowd was estimated at about 98,500 people.

Provincial Governor Chim Chan Sophorn shared a video on social media showing people participating in the celebrations, joking that there may be more people in the lake than there are fish.

The traditional fishing celebration is held every year, but this year saw a 50 percent increase in attendance compared to the 60,000 people who participated last year.

“This increase may be due to the fact that this year we decided to organize a concert near the lake, in addition to an exhibition of local specialty foods,” Reith explained.

He added that the district administration also offered prizes to those who could catch the largest number of fish, with first place receiving 500,000 riyals ($125) and second place receiving 400,000 riyals ($100), all the way to the tenth-place fisherman who returned home. In the amount of 50 thousand riyals ($12.50).

Reith said the district governor continues to make the event bigger and bigger every year in order to remember the traditions of the ancestors, as well as to create a fun occasion for the people.

Historian Sambo Manara explained that this event is held once a year, and only traditional Khmer fishing tools are allowed.

“It aims to preserve our Khmer traditions, while educating younger generations about the evolution of fishing tackles from ancient times to the present. Unfortunately, today there are cases where people use illegal fishing gear such as electrified nets, causing irreparable damage to the biodiversity of the Kingdom.” .

According to local authorities, Lake Boeung Trabing Kram covers about 30 hectares, but people are only allowed to fish on one hectare. Fishing in the lake is completely prohibited until the authorities announce the date of the group fishing event.

A similar tradition is carried out in Siem Reap Province. On February 11, locals carried out a mass fishing event in Pangkaung Village, in Ampil Town, Prasat Bakong District.

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