Promoting rice field fisheries in the Cambodian Mekong Delta

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In partnership with the Fisheries Administration (FiA) and GIZ, WorldFish recently conducted an exposure visit focusing on best practices for the management of rice field fisheries (RFF) in Kampong Thom province. The visit was attended by representatives from the Community Fish Refuges (CFRs) committee in the Mekong Delta and the upper Mekong provinces.

The primary objective of the visit was to explore and learn about the management and conservation of fisheries resources through CFRs. The 4-day study tour brought together 58 participants, including 9 women from FiA-DAD, CFR committee members, GIZ, WorldFish, ANKO, and local authorities from 9 provinces. The visit encompassed immersive experiences in CFR projects in the Boeng Phouk, Boeng Laork, Boeng Kaek Ngout, and Trapeang Andeuk communities, allowing participants to engage with local stakeholders and gain practical insights into successful management strategies.

During the visit, the objectives were threefold. Firstly, the aim was to learn from experienced communities about Community Fish Refuges (CFR) and Rice Field Fisheries (RFF) management, focusing on community dynamics, governance structures, and decision-making processes. Secondly, the intention was to enrich participants’ understanding of CFR management challenges and opportunities through various platforms including training sessions, workshops, and discussions addressing topics such as community organizing, resource monitoring, sustainable fishing, and alternative livelihoods. Finally, the visit sought to foster knowledge-sharing and relationship building among participants and communities involved in CFRs, emphasizing collaborative learning and the exchange of experiences.

The key activities and topics included in the study tour were designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of Community Fish Refuges (CFRs) and rice field fisheries management. Participants visited CFRs, enabling them to observe fishing practices and gain insights into the local context and the challenges faced by communities. They were also exposed to case studies and presentations that highlighted successful community-based fisheries initiatives from diverse regions, fostering a broader understanding of adaptable approaches and strategies. Moreover, knowledge-sharing sessions provided platforms for participants to exchange ideas, experiences, and lessons learned, promoting critical thinking and reflection on the complexities of community fisheries management.

The study tour provided a valuable opportunity for participants to gain knowledge, build capacity, and establish connections within the community fisheries sector. By fostering knowledge exchange, collaborative learning, and networking, the tour aimed to contribute to the sustainable management and conservation of fisheries resources for the benefit of local communities. The participants appreciated this visit and expressed their intention to adopt and apply the lessons learned, especially the fundraising method, to ensure the sustainability and self-financing of their CFRs.

In collaboration with stakeholders, FiA supported the establishment of 183 CFRs in the Mekong Delta in Cambodia, leading to the maintenance of rice field fisheries production in the face of climate change. These fisheries have provided substantial yields, comprising 138 Kg/ha, thereby making significant contributions to the rural economy.

This work is part of the CGIAR Initiative on Asian Mega-Deltas.

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