Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sinking feeling: CAA making a splash over aquaculture as sector flounders

Sinking feeling: CAA making a splash over aquaculture as sector flounders

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Aquaculture production in the Kingdom clocked in at 400,400 tonnes last year, up by 30.25 per cent from 307,408 tonnes in 2019. VENG SAKHON VIA FACEBOOK

Sinking feeling: CAA making a splash over aquaculture as sector flounders

Aquaculture production could experience a marginal decline this year as discouraging prices and other market forces prompt farmers to reduce the amount of juvenile fish used to stock their ponds, or go as far as to temporarily halt operations, according to the Cambodian Aquaculturist Association (CAA).

Chet Phirum, co-founder of CAA, which now boasts more than 300 member households, told The Post on August 10 that the number of fish stocked in ponds had dropped since April-May, as more farmers sell their cage-cultured produce without replenishing stocks with juvenile fish, and take a wait-and-see approach for future market opportunities.

Despite this, he said, the price of aquaculture fish in the local market has not seen a significant rise over the last couple of months.

CAA statistics show that aquaculture yield in the 315 fish farms run by its members in May was 10,356 tonnes – 7,259 of “pra” (Pangasius djambal), 1,858 of “chdo” (giant snakehead or Channa micropeltes), 893 of “po” (Pangasius larnaudii), 155 of “andeng” (most other non-shark catfish) and 191 of other fish species.

CAA projections show that the aquaculture business would be considerably unprofitable this year and that output would fail to meet expectations, according to Phirum.

The dwindling prices of preferred aquaculture fish varieties and the rising rates of the corresponding feed have pushed a number of farmers to gamble on different species perceived to be in higher demand, he said.

He hinted that “chdo” fish had become all the more coveted, now worth about 11,000 riel ($2.75) per kg, up from 9,200 riel early this year, while other species largely remained flat.

To expand domestic aquaculture capacity, it is necessary to, among many other things, improve business and production planning skills and other relevant technical competencies in the industry; identify, document and introduce the elements needed to generate market demand; build networks of clusters and producer groups for target markets; and draw up a clear and comprehensive strategy to compete in the free market, he said.

He also called on the government to deploy additional policies to support aquaculture, especially in the context of addressing electricity prices, irrigation, low-interest loans, or other measures that could encourage more juvenile fish to be moved from hatcheries to floating cages and hence ratchet up production.

Imports of fish must comply with standard operating procedures for the responsible circulation of aquatic life within ASEAN to create a level playing field, to avoid price dumping, and especially to protect domestic production.

Phirum said the CAA “requests the competent authorities and relevant institutions to strictly monitor the import of fish, in accordance with the quota set by the Ministry of Agriculture, [Forestry and Fisheries], to ensure fair competition and eliminate dishonest business practices.

“At the same time, we ask all Cambodians to embrace local products even more,” he said.

Phorn Rany, owner of the 2ha “CAN” fish farm in Prey Veng province’s Mesang district, highlighted that aquaculture continues to face stiff competition from imports – mostly from Vietnam.

The prices of many fish varieties have seen a marked reduction over the year, he said, adding that “andeng” catfish species now sell for no more than 4,300 riel per kg, whereas the same would fetch 6,000 riel last year.

He suggested that restrictions on imports could raise the prices of local fish to some extent. “Due to high production costs [feed and electricity], farmers have lost a lot of money and now the number of fish farms is declining,” Rany said.

He stressed, however, that another vital component for sustainable and prosperous local production was support from locals.

Aquaculture production in the Kingdom clocked in at 400,400 tonnes last year, up by 30.25 per cent from 307,408 tonnes in 2019, the ministry Fisheries Administration reported.


  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Cambodia's poverty cut in half from 2009 to 2019: World Bank report

    A report published by the World Bank on November 28 states that Cambodia’s national poverty rate fell by almost half between 2009 and 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic recently reversed some of the poverty reduction progress. Cambodia’s poverty rate dropped from 33.8 to 17.8 per cent over the 10