The race is now on to educate the dozens of villages dotted along the Mekong about the new rules and offer incentives for traditional fishing communities to diversify their income and reduce reliance on fishing.
However, the efforts have yet to reach fisherman Eam Mao, 55, who lives a few kilometers north of the popular Kampi dolphin pools and earns just over US$2 a day from his catch.
“It’s much more difficult for us to make a living than for those who live nearer the dolphins,” he said as he sat outside his modest home repairing a small cast net.
Still, Pech is optimistic that the new rules can make a difference.
“Now when we confiscate the gill nets people dare not object because they know it’s illegal. Before, they would chase us with knives,” he said, laughing.