The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Cambodia said illegal fishing in fishery management zones has decreased thanks to an aquaculture project it implemented – in collaboration with the Cambodian Rural Development Team – across 14 villages in Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Kratie and Stung Treng provinces.
An August 26 report by WCS said illegal fishing is one of the major threats to the conservation of fishery resources, especially the critically endangered royal turtle and Cantor’s giant softshell turtles.
Seeing this danger, the report said WCS started an initiative in 2019 to enhance the protection of those endangered species by helping local people to raise fish and grow vegetables, reducing their need to fish illegally.
Since then, a total 454 families have received technical training on aquaculture and vegetable growing; with 98 of them, who largely depended on fishing, receiving direct incentives to raise clarius catfish and striped pangasius, and grow vegetables at home.
It said that through this project, each farmer received support of between $60 and $400 to Begin raising fish and farming vegetables. The support packages comprised 2.8kg of fish fingerlings – about 1,000 individuals – fish feed, plastic for building pools, a pair of watering cans and vegetable seeds.
“There has been a 94 per cent decrease in the number of threats compared to the baseline of one threat per 4km. There has been a 74 per cent decrease in threats along the Mekong River and 76 percent decrease in the Sre Ambel River system, according to SMART patrol data collected last June,” it said.
Kang Bour is one of the trainees and the chief of Koh Kroach Community Fishery, Sre Krasaing commune, Siem Bouk district of Stung Treng. He raises Clarius Catfish and grows vegetables at home after being taught these skills.
“I not only have enough fish and vegetables to eat, but also generate an income which supports my family of eight,” Bour said, adding that he had stopped fishing entirely, thanks to the success of his fish-farming.