Fishery Communities in Koh Kong are being affected by climate change

23 July 2012 | Article

Fishery Communities, mostly depending on salt water fishing in Koh Kong Province, have voiced a deep concern over their inadequate livelihoods. They said that they have challenged with the difficulties, especially in the last 10 months this year

due to the decline of their fishery products which really impacted on their household incomes.

Mr. Hul Marady, Vice Directors of Koh Kong Environment Department, has told The Southeast Asia Weekly that,dwelling in some islands and conservative zones along the coastal areas have met the unpleasant conditions of their livelihoods.

In particular, they has lost domestic animals and crops because they are hard to feed when sea levels starts enlarging year-on-year which keeps the soils remaining salted, he said, adding that the rising of sea level is a major cause to the decrease of fishery products as well.

“In the coastal areas nowadays, rainfall patterns have irregularly changed; sometimes, it caused a heavy rain which is the hindrance for local people to go fishing, he stressed.”Recently, there have been some small typhoons occurred, which brings the sand to cover on mangrove forests making it died and their shrimp-feeding fields, the important income sources have been destroyed, he added.

“These are the influences of climate changes, significantly impacted on fisherman’s livelihoods,” he said, the Koh Kong Environment Department has taken the adaptive measures to facilitate those people, namely besides fishery, they can depend on Eco-tourism sector through reforestation of mangrove forest and crop diversity to ensure the food security.

The Environment Department has cooperated with local NGOs to educate people about sanity and adaptation to the climate changes, he mentioned.

PeamKrasoap Commune Chief, ChutTet remarked thathis commune consists of 304 households and 5 communities relying much on fishing. Annually, the Commune has spent approximately 100 million riels to restore the infrastructures broken by winds and, especially on fresh water.

This year, sea water has flowed into the Commune wells and there is a strong wind to break down the local roads, schools, coastal erosion and beaches are separated, he voiced a concern, adding that about 30 households who live on the sea water forcibly move to the hill.“I am not sure this problems caused by climate changes, just noticing that the weather now has gradually changed,that he cannot predict as usual,” he noted.

Mrs PrakHeang, Community Chief in Koh Kapit has told that her areas are remote areas and less attention in developments. Her villagers now cannot go fishing as the storms hit irregular which affected on their incomes to afford for the daily needs.

The children in the villages has to give up their educations and they has to enter the mangrove forest to catch wild fishes, crabs, prawns, snails, shrimps, oysters to support the family, she stressed, adding that mostly children get the educations in 4 or 5 grade only. It is also affected on the teachers and monks there.

She continued “I feel the weather turns to be hotter and hotter and almost villagers got flu disease leading to the extreme poverty. Some local people have decided to migrate, especially into Thailand to earn income.”

Mr. Veng Somsak, the community chief in the Koh Saloa Commune said that his commune’s fishery products has dramatically dropped because the sea tide is irregularly in and out and the sand pumping from the company to make the water muddy and impacted on the ecosystems in the commune.

Field Coordinator of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Mr. Sun Kong working on the local people’s livelihood program has told the Southeast Weekly that climate changes caused a great concern, especially those who live along the coastal areas.Their livelihoods mostly depend on fishing and now they are facing difficulty caused by climate change and sea level descending.

His organizations has proposed the local people to replant the mangrove forest because it is the most essential habitats of aquatic resources which not only provide them a great deal of wild fishes but it also helps prevent from and adapt to the climate changes, he said, during the field trip for journalist training to study the impacts of climate change in Koh Kong Province.
“Mangrove forest can be preserved as the Eco-tourism that can raise local people’s living standards partly,” he stressed.

 

By Leang Phannara

Reporter of Asia TV Camboida