Inception Workshop on Strengthening Capacity of Fishing Communities in the Tonle Sap to Manage their Natural Resources Sustainably

28 August 2013 | Article

 Siem Reap, 19 August 2013 – An inception workshop on Strengthening Capacity of Community Fisheries (CFi) in the Tonle Sap to Manage ther Natural Resources Sustainability was organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in partnership with the Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT). The objectives of the workshop were: to introduce the new project, to present the results of an analysis of social and environmental conditions atthe three pilot sites in Tonle Sap and to gather feedback to improve project design. The event brought together 51 participants from local and international NGOs, Fisheries Administration, and community fisheries.

 Through the Prime Minister's Sub-Decree 37, all commercial fishing lots around Tonle Sap Lake were abolished in favour of community fishing and fish conservation. Local fishermen can now catch more fish and access to fishing grounds that were previously off-limits. However, there are concerns that the lake could become an “open access” resource and move toward a “Tragedy of the Commons” outcome that threatens the fish resources on which the country depends. To respond to this challenge, the project Strengthening Capacity of Fishing Communities in the Tonle Sap to Manage their Natural Resources Sustainably was designed to test the use of community managed fish conservation areas as a tool to protect the most biologically important sites in the lake.

Mr. Georges Dehoux, Project Officer at the Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia said “Supporting community fisheries and conservation areas in the Tonle Sap is one of the priorities of the fishery sector in Cambodia, as embodied in the Strategic Planning Framework for Fisheries 2010-2019 and by Prime Minister Sub-Decree 37. The primary value of this project is the support to fishery conservation at the grassroots level. We hope it will help to foster an even stronger relationship between government, local authorities and communities with the common purpose of protecting these natural resources essential for the country”.

The project aims to build ownership and autonomous of community fisheries in protecting the fish resources on which they depend. Mr. Jake Brunner, Programme Coordinator at IUCN Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar stated that “The project supports community fisheries in three sites on Tonle Sap, in Kompong Plok Commune in Siem Reap Province, Peam Bang Commune in Kampong Thom Province and Plov Touk Commune in Kampong Chhnang Province, by integrating locally managed-managed fish conservation areas into fisheries management plans and commune investment budgets”.

This project is financed by the European Union under its Non-State Actors Programme, with co-financing from the Mekong Water Dialogues funded by the Government of Finland and the Building River Dialogue and Governance (BRIDGE) funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation. It is implemented by IUCN in partnership with FACT over four years starting from January 2013. It focuses on strengthening capacities of community fisheries in negotiating, demarcating and managing fish conservation zones, networking with other communities and integrating fisheries conservation management into commune plans and budgets.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Kimsreng.kong, Senior Programme Office

Mr. Sorn Pheakdey, Water and Wetland Coordinator