The Fisheries Administration (FiA) and partner organisations are planning to manage marine enterprises to curb overfishing and ensure effective resource sustainability. 

To facilitate these plans, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) initiated training for FiA cantonment officials and other relevant stakeholders on November 16. The initiative is part of ongoing efforts to improve the livelihoods of coastal community fisheries, according to an FAO. 

It said that the courses aim to enhance stakeholder capacity in managing the industry, which will support the long-term protection and rehabilitation of aquatic resources and habitats.

“Essential fish habitats include coral reefs, seagrass and mangrove forests, which are necessary for fish reproduction, growth, feeding and shelter. Marine fish cannot survive without these vital, healthy habitats. 

“Effective management of fisheries will, therefore, contribute to increasing the value generated by marine fisheries while ensuring that resources are exploited at an economically efficient and sustainable rate,” FAO said in press release. 

Buoy Roitana, deputy director-general of the FiA, noted that the body has developed a management scheme, which is currently undergoing the approval process. 

The plan aims to rehabilitate and protect resources and critical ecosystems, enabling various user groups to benefit from sustainable fishing. It was developed with technical support from the FAO and in consultation with stakeholders at all levels, including local authorities and coastal communities who are crucial in the decision-making process.

“Part of the process is bringing stakeholders together to improve understanding and acceptance of the need for everyone to collaborate on designing and implementing solutions. Working together with a common goal will strengthen efforts to reduce practices and activities that have negative impacts on fishery resources, habitats and profitability,” he explained.

Phen Bunthoeun, technical advisor of Marine Fisheries Management at FAO Cambodia, stated that the training is organised to help management levels within the FiA, cantonments, inspectorates and community fisheries understand the mechanisms for resource governance. 

“It is conceived as an interactive workshop with many groups and role-played exercises to enable stakeholders and key actors to apply techniques, creating more stable and predictable conditions of fish stock,” he said.

According to the press release, training sessions were held in Kep province on November 16-17 and additional classes will be held in Kampot province on November 21 and 23. In all, they will engage with a total of 60 representatives from Phnom Penh and the coastal provinces. Following the second course, the plan is expected to be approved and launched early next year.

The development of the marine fisheries management plan began in 2021 with funding from the EU under the FAO Complementary Support to the Cambodia Programme for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in the Fisheries Sector (CAPFISH-Capture), which is one of the largest EU-supported fisheries projects in the world.