Cambodia has harvested more than 310,000 tonnes of diverse fish types within the initial five months of the year, a substantial increase in aquaculture, according to a Fisheries Administration report. The catch comprised 104,440 tonnes of freshwater captured fish, 66,400 tonnes of marine captured fish, and 145,300 tonnes of aquaculture produced fish.

The yield is an outcome of extensive initiatives undertaken by the fisheries administration, including advancing aquaculture development, embracing technology for product quality enhancement, promoting community growth, and executing fisheries conservation. The focus has also extended to research and development in freshwater and marine fisheries and breeding capacity.

Dith Tina, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, instructed officials in a recent conference to collectively address obstacles and devise solutions for better preservation of fishery resources. He emphasised preventing illegal fishing and promoting correct policies and practices.

“The demarcation of fishing borders demands scientific, commercial, and sustainable consideration to augment fisheries, requiring the collaborative efforts of stakeholders like the fishing community, Fisheries Administration, and local authorities to prevent fishery crimes,” Tina noted.

Lemphor Vorith, development association officer and spokesperson for the Cambodian Aquaculturist Association (CAA), revealed a marked decrease in aquaculture at the start of this year. The decline, due to fewer breeders and dropping distributor numbers, is exacerbated by the prohibitive costs of feed and other factors.

“Fish farmers cannot make profit, so some of them have given up because of the high cost of feed resulting in a reduction in the number of Cambodian aquaculturists,” he said.

Vorith expressed concern over a potential shortage of fish supply next year due to the decrease in fish farming. He also discussed the limited adoption of cost-saving breeding techniques, attributing it to farmers’ scepticism over effectiveness.

Despite a decrease in aquaculture this year, the Fisheries Administration reported an overall growth in fish and aquaculture products of 862,200 tonnes in 2022. The report also noted exports of 2,943 tonnes, imports of 57,826 tonnes and transit of 5,216 tonnes of fishery products.