The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has kicked off the training of Fisheries Administration (FiA) cantonment officials and other fisheries stakeholders in coastal community fisheries in Cambodia.

The development of marine fisheries management plan was initiated since 2021 with funding from the EU under 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 programmes in the world.

The programme aims to improve fisheries conservation, management and compliance with fisheries laws and regulations including the National Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Marines Fishing in the inland and marine domain, particularly through strengthened fisheries management frameworks.

The project is part of ongoing efforts aimed at improving the livelihoods of coastal community fisheries.

The training will build stakeholder capacity in management of fisheries which in the long term supports the protection and rehabilitation of fish resources and habitats.

Essential fish habitats include coral reefs, seagrass and mangrove forest and these are necessary for fish reproduction, growth, feeding and shelter, According to FAO.

Marine fish cannot survive without these vital healthy habitats.

Effective management of fisheries will therefore contribute to the process of enabling growth in the value generated by marine fisheries while ensuring that resources are exploited at an economically efficient and sustainable rate.

Buoy Roitana, Deputy Director-General of Fisheries Administration, said all parties should work together to strengthen efforts to reduce practices and activities that have negative impacts on fishery resources, habitats and profitability.

“Controlling the quantity of fish that can be taken by fishing is essential for ensuring sustainable use,” he said. “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.”

FiA initiated development of a marine fisheries management plan which is now undergoing the approval process.

The plan will help rehabilitate and protect fish resources and critical habitats and enable a variety of user groups to benefit from the usage of fish.

FiA also developed the plan with technical support from FAO and in consultation with stakeholders at all levels including local authorities and fishing communities who play a key role in the decision-making process.