The EU is advancing the field of fisheries science in Cambodia by supporting students in their research and educational pursuits.

The initiative aims to improve management efficiency within the sector and to empower students by developing their scientific skills, thereby broadening their career opportunities, especially on the international stage.

Koen Everaert, deputy head of cooperation for the EU Delegation to Cambodia, made the remarks at a CAPFISH-Capture workshop in Phnom Penh on January 25. 

The event marked the second anniversary of the EU’s partnership with Cambodian students engaged in research in the sector. Everaert noted that the EU has been supporting the student internship programme for two years. 

He said the effort is designed to develop the capabilities of new generations of technicians and scientists, enabling them to sustainably manage the country’s fisheries resources.

“Enhancing the efficiency of this research is crucial for effective fisheries management. Specifically, the research addresses certain challenges that are impeding development and impacting the sustainability of aquatic habitats,” he explained.

He added that the EU collaborates with numerous partners to enhance human resource capacity in the sector and to manage the Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS). 

Everaert said the EU’s assistance extends to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, as well as to higher education institutions specialising in these fields, employing techniques recommended by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

He detailed that the EU-funded internship programme has included 37 researchers from four universities: the Royal University of Agriculture, Prek Leap National Institute of Agriculture, Kampong Cham National Institute of Agriculture and the University of Kratie. 

He said the researchers are conducting studies on various aspects of the fisheries sector, responding to requests from Fisheries Administration (FiA) cantonments across 20 provinces. The students received $3,000 for the initial six months of research, followed by a $500 monthly stipend for the subsequent six months.

During the workshop, FiA deputy director-general Srun Limsong urged the students to enhance their capacities and skills, emphasising the importance of mastering international languages to access top-tier job opportunities worldwide.

“What’s more important is that you need to be proficient in both technical skills and language. Without English proficiency, your opportunities are severely limited,” he added.

Rebekah Bell, FAO representative for Cambodia, also encouraged the students to diligently learn foreign languages, noting the widespread use of English in international communication.

“All of you have the potential to represent an international institution of the UN in the future, just as I do. This is the first step in your careers and we are committed to a long-term vision of helping young people achieve their goals,” she said.

Bell added that these opportunities could lead to prestigious positions in government, research and higher education sectors, contributing to an increase in the number of intellectuals across various fields through language education.