Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia, 11 May 2011 -- Resource management and community development in Cambodian coastal fishing communities will be strengthened following the signing of 15 Community Fishing Area Management Plans in a ceremony held in Preah Sihanouk province today.
The plans cover Community Fisheries (CFi) in Cambodia’s coastal provinces of Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Kong Kong and Kep and were signed by Community Fisheries chiefs and government representatives.
They detail activities and goals that the communities will work towards to improve resource management and community development. The active participation of community members in the development and implementation of the plans marks an important step in the empowerment of communities to manage their resources.
The Community Fishing Area Management Plans were developed through a participatory process supported by the Fisheries Administration and the Spanish-funded Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia, which is implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and Fisheries Administration.
The plans were developed through a bottom up approach reflecting the needs and aspirations of the communities. RFLP supported the process of reviewing the plans and stakeholder consultations. Efforts were also made to ensure the plans capture the needs of both men and women in the community.
Speaking at the signing of the plans, Ms Kaing Khim, Deputy Director General of Fisheries Administration, said “The Community Fishing Area Management Plans set out in a legal and well planned manner the needs and aspirations of the 15 Community Fisheries. They will also be an important resource for Commune Councils to prepare Commune Investment and Commune Development plans.”
The Community Fishing Area Management Plans are essential documents for all Community Fisheries in Cambodia which must develop a management plan and have it accepted and signed by the authorities, as a pre-condition to manage the fisheries in their respective area.
The Community Fishing Area Management Plans include a comprehensive overview of the background, resources, activities and aspirations of the Community Fisheries. They include data on inhabitants and their occupations, the size of fishing grounds, fisheries resources, fishing activities, gear types in use and annual catches. The plans also set out how resources will be managed through activities such as the establishment of conservation areas, the planting of flooded forest or the restriction of the use of certain fishing gears.
Through the input of RFLP/FAO, the plans were also modified to better reflect the wide range of actions affecting the livelihoods of community members. These include issues such as safety at sea, the processing of fisheries products, strengthened or alternative livelihood options, as well as access to micro-finance services.
Mr Ajay Markanday, FAO Representative in Cambodia said, “The signing of 15 Community Fishing Area Management Plans is a considerable achievement and I look forward to continuing dialogue between all involved to ensure that communities benefit from their effective implementation.”
Jose Parajua, Regional Programme Manager of RFLP said, “These Community Fishing Area Management Plans reflect the importance of ensuring fisheries resources are jointly and sustainably managed by the communities and administration as well as the need to fully integrate all aspects of community life into the planning process.”
Coordination of the implementation of the plans will be supported by the Fisheries Administration and RFLP/FAO. The plans will also be used as a basis for other development partners to consider support to various Community Fisheries.
The 15 Community Fisheries are: (Preah Sihanouk province) Chumpou Khmao, Bek Krang, Banteay Brey, Boeung Raing, Tomnup Rolok, Koh Rong Sanloem; (Kampot) Trapaing Ropov, Chang Hoan, Trapaing Sangke, Koh Krisna; (Kep) Angkoal, O’krasa; (Koh Kong) Thmor Sor; Koh Kchong; Chhroay Svay.