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Climate could gut fish yields, experts say

Climate could gut fish yields, experts say

CLIMATE change could wreak havoc on Cambodia’s fisheries sector, community representatives and government officials said at a workshop Monday.

So Nam, deputy director of the government’s Inland Fisheries Research Institute, said that global climate fluctuations had already affected ecosystems and reduced catches of freshwater and saltwater fish.

“Cambodia’s temperature is increasing between 0.3 centigrade and 0.6 centigrade annually, and it will impact all kinds of fish in Cambodia within 20 to 50 years if we don’t combat climate change together,” he said.

“In the past few years, climate change has already brought many tragedies to Cambodia, like typhoons, which have brought food shortages to people. We must work together to find a solution to combat climate change and protect marine ecosystems.”

So Nam added that 6 million Cambodians are dependent on fisheries, and that the industry yields an average of between 314,000 and 550,000 tonnes of fish per year. It provides between US$250 million and $500 million to the annual national budget.

Long Sochet, a representative of fishermen from Raing Til commune in Pursat province, said fish catches were previously copious during the annual fishing season, which runs from October to June, but that now there were “almost no fish” in the river around March.

Minh Bunly, programme coordinator for the Fisheries Action Coalition Team in the Tonle Sap Region, said the drop was partly caused by illegal fishing and an increase in the number of people who rely on the country’s fisheries.

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