Welcome address by H.E. Governor of Siem Reap Province, Cambodia
Today I am very proud to have the honour to participate in the Regional Workshop here on "Mainstreaming Fisheries Co-management" from 9-12 August 2005, which is jointly organized by Department of Fisheries, Cambodia and the Asia-Pacific Fisheries Commission (APFIC).
On behalf of Siem Reap provincial authority, I warmly welcome all distinguished delegates from the Asia-Pacific region representatives to be here for this special occasion. I would also like to thank the Department of Fisheries and APFIC in selecting this province to hold such Regional Workshop.
Fisheries form a very important part of the lives of many people in this region. As you know the Government of Cambodia is actively encouraging better management of the natural resource base that supports their livelihoods. This is very apparent in the Tonle Sap, a large lake near here that I believe you will be visiting on your field trip. At this site, government is working closely with the people of the region to improve fisheries management - so called co-management arrangement. The choice to have this workshop so close to the Tonle Sap should give you the opportunity to observe, first hand, fisheries co-management in action.
While you are in the Siem Reap region, I also hope that you will take the opportunity to learn more about our history and culture and find time to visit our famous Angkor Wat Temple. This important site reminds us of the history of the ancient Khmer civilization that reached in its peak during the Angkor period during the 8th to 13th century. If you examine the sculptures at the temples you will see evidence of the important of fish to the people of the region even in those ancient times.
I trust that the work that you will be doing here over the next few days will help ensure that the same abundance and variety of fish for which this region is famous will also be there for our children and all future generations.
We hope that the result of this Regional Workshop will lay a basis for better approaches of successful implementation of the co-management regionally. It will also provide, especially, a knowledge base and tools for decision-makers in the world-wide for mainstreaming fisheries co-management.
Again, I would like to take this opportunity to be grateful to Department of Fisheries and FAO through APFIC for their generous support for this Workshop. I wish you all a nice stay in Siem Reap and hope you enjoy the famous Angkor Wat Temple and the Tonle Sap Great Lake and hope you will have a successful meeting in Siem Reap.
Statement by Tsukasa Kimoto, FAO Representative in Cambodia
I am very pleased to be able to welcome you to Siem Reap and to this Regional Workshop on "Mainstreaming Fisheries Co-management", which is jointly organized by Department of Fisheries, Cambodia and the Asia-Pacific Fisheries Commission (APFIC). On behalf of FAO, I warmly welcome all the distinguished delegates from APFIC, partner organizations, and all involved in fisheries across the region. The Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission is the oldest fishery commission in the world. It has served its members well for over 50 years and FAO through APFIC has supported the development and management of fisheries in the region throughout this long period.
However, as newer sub-regional fishery bodies have formed, for example SEAFDEC, the Mekong River Commission and the Bay of Bengal Programme Inter-governmental Organization who are all represented here today, APFIC has moved to being the overarching consultative forum to address, and find solutions for, tans-boundary fisheries and aquaculture issue affecting the whole of the Asia-Pacific region. For the biennium 2005/06, the Commission elected two major topics for its consideration. The first was the issue of trash fish, and some of you may have attended the recent workshop in Hanoi, Viet Nam where several important actions to address the issue were agreed to. The second topic is the one being addressed here today - how to "mainstream" fisheries co-management.
So what do we mean by "mainstreaming". The concept of co-management, where governments and users of the fishery resources join forces to promote more responsible and efficient fisheries, is not new. However, with some notable exceptions such as Japan, co-management has been carried out across the region only in isolated project demonstration/pilot sites and has been largely donor driven. However with decentralization policies increasingly finding their way into country agendas, the time is right to make this much more than a collection of pilot sites but to "mainstream" the initiative into everyday fisheries management.
This Workshop will endeavour to build on lessons learnt and best practice across the region in an attempt to define more clearly the processes required to make co-management a mainstream activity. It will deal with policy and legislation issues, it will examine how to empower communities and will also look at the institutional linkages need to bring it about. Lastly it will consider what resources will be required to facilitate this.
These APFIC Workshops, however, are not isolated events. AS with the previous Workshop, this Workshop should come up with a concrete action plan on what needs to be done. These recommendations will be further embellished at the next APFIC Consultative Forum Meeting and presented to full Commission Session in August next year. In this way it hoped that your collective efforts will translate into action for the benefit of the whole region. We hope that in this way FAO and APFIC, in collaboration with its partners, can assist in laying the foundations for the successful implementation of the co-management across the region. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department of Fisheries and APFIC for their generous support for this Workshop and trust that you all have a very constructive and useful Workshop.
I would like to leave you with one last thought. The reason that so much work has been put into organizing this Workshop is to bring you all together so that you can share your ideas and experiences. Please put all your energies into making what, I am sure will be, a very successful event.
Opening Speech by Mr Nao Thouk, Director General of the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Kingdom of Cambodia
On behalf of the Fisheries Department and on my own behalf, first of all, I wish to extend my warmest welcome to everyone attending this regional Workshop on mainstreaming fisheries co-management. It is our great honour and pleasure to host this important Workshop with the collaboration and participation of your Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, representing the Governments, International and National Organizations.
Allow me to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the presence of H.E. Provincial Governor and for taking his valuable time to participate in the opening ceremony of this Workshop. Also, for his cooperation and warm hospitality to the Distinguished Guests and Delegates in the Workshop, while staying in the beautiful province of Siem Reap. I would like also express my deepest thanks and appreciation to the Asia-Pacific Fisheries Commission and other Organizations for their support and cooperation in jointly organizing this Workshop.
As all of you know, Cambodia is rich in fisheries resources as there are plenty of rivers, tributaries, lakes and large floodplain covering 2.7 percent of the total land area. The total annual inland capture fisheries production is estimated to be about 290 000 to 430 000 tons with a value of US$200-250 million. Cambodia's inland fisheries are most productive in the region and perhaps are ranked number 4 in the world behind China, India and Bangladesh. Fisheries contribute 8.4 to 11 percent to the country's Gross Domestic Product. In terms of employment and income generation, Cambodia's aquatic habitat provides an important and major source of employment and income generation for rural people, who fish, collect aquatic plants and animals, and rely on it for other related activities.
Freshwater fisheries also contribute to food security and nutrition for Cambodian people. Rice and fish are the basic diet and more than 75 percent of the animal protein intake is derived from fish, especially among the rural population. Average fish consumption of people living in fishing-dependent communes particularly in the Great Lake areas is about 75.6 kg/person/annum, compared with the national average that ranges between 30-40 kg/person/year. These consumption figures indicate that the inland fisheries of Cambodia contribute more to the national food balance than any other inland fisheries in the world.
Bearing in mind that the fisheries sector is crucial to people's livelihoods and the national economy, the Royal Government, during its second mandate, achieved significant reforms in many areas, especially in the fisheries sector. In the third mandate, the Royal Government will continue to promote fisheries reforms by designating fisheries as one side of the Rectangular Strategy. Let me brief your Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen about fisheries reform in Cambodia. In October 2000, the Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia initiated historical change in the fisheries sector by releasing more than 56 percent (536 302 hectares) of fishing lot concession areas for local people to organize community fisheries. The purpose of this reform is to promote broad local participation in fisheries management and the efficient, sustainable, and equitable use of living aquatic resources. This reform was received enthusiastically by many people, especially those who live inside or near fishing lots.
Subsequently, a sub-decree on community fisheries management was prepared and put out for broad public consultation. After more than 4 years of consultation, the sub-decree was signed by the Prime Minister on 10 June 2005. The community fisheries sub-decree provides direction to set rules and establish legal procedures for co-management of community fisheries throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia. Roles and responsibilities of community fisheries, the Ministry and Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, and the Department of Fisheries are clearly established in the sub-decree, in which MAFF has general jurisdiction over community fisheries management.
To support implantation of the sub-decree on Community Fisheries Management, the Department of Fisheries has prepared draft guidelines on community fisheries, and samples of by-laws, management plans, and community fisheries agreements. The Department of Fisheries plans to put these documents out for public review and consultation in order to solicit ideas from key players and to promote community participation in the preparation of these legal instruments before sending them to MAFF for the official approval.
The finding from the fisheries policy reform impact assessment conducted by the Department of Fisheries and supported by the Department of International Development, provides basic information on how fisheries policy reform impacts poverty, fisheries resources, food security, gender and aquatic ecology. Generally, fisheries policy reform has a positive impact on those aspects, even though there are some concerns. However, it is difficult to generalize the impact of fisheries reform in a short period of time because it is diverse and highly dependent on the situation and local conditions. Therefore, additional studies and investigations will need to be conducted as time passes and reforms are more firmly established.
So far, almost 400 community fisheries have been established in Cambodia with cooperation and support from the national and international organizations and agencies. However, we have faced many constraints and challenges in the process of the fisheries reform, including the limited community fisheries experience and financial support for community fisheries activities. Under its 2005 priority action plan, the Department of Fisheries, in collaboration with national and international organizations and agencies, intends to strengthen the capacity of the community fisheries by building the capacity of fisheries officials, local authorities, and community fisheries organizations through training, workshops, and study tours and share learning of experiences from community fisheries around the world.
For existing community fisheries, DOF will support the development of by-laws, CF management plans and CF area agreements and try to finalizing draft fisheries legislation. We will also strengthen community fisheries by building capacity of the CF committees, increasing public awareness of the national resource management and protection issues, and by disseminating the sub-decree on community fisheries management and fisheries law. DOF will also promote the establishment of additional community fisheries organizations in fishing grounds that have been segregated from fishing lots, protected areas, reservoirs, and community fisheries refuge ponds.
This Workshop is very important for all of us in the region to share knowledge, experiences, and lessons learnt and I hope that this Workshop will promote active discussions and have a positive outcome that will be benefit all of us for the sake of community fisheries co-management. Cambodia has much less experience with fisheries co-management than other countries, which have had community-based management systems in place for many years. We hope Cambodia will learn from the experience of others at this Workshop.
Once again, I would like to express my deep appreciation for the presence of Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen to the meeting today as well as the next two days of meetings. The presence of Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen shows a strong commitment and regional cooperation in fisheries co-management.
In conclusion, I would like to wish Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen great success, prosperity, happiness and a good stay in the Kingdom of Cambodia, the land of Angkor Wat. Without further delay, let me declare this Regional Workshop on Mainstreaming Fisheries Co-management open. Thank you very much for your attention and have a successful Workshop.