Illegal fishing is one of major threats to the conservation of fishery resources, especially the Critically Endangered Royal Turtles and the Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtles. Since 2019, the European Union-Partners against Wildlife Crime is supporting WCS and CRDT in Cambodia, to enhance protection of these species.
To this end, an aquaculture project was implemented by WCS and CRDT across 14 villages in Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Kratie and Stung Treng provinces. Through this initiative, since 2019, 454 families received technical trainings on aquaculture and vegetable growing. Besides, 98 farmer families who largely depend on fishing received direct incentives to raise Clarius Catfish and Striped Pangasius, and grow vegetables at home.
Concretely, each farmer received an in-kind support of between $60 and $400, depending on their own resources, to start up fish raising and vegetable gardening. That support comprised 2.8 kg of fish fingerlings (about 1,000 individuals), fish feed, plastic tent for building cages, a pair of watering cans and vegetable seeds.
Kang Bour is the chief of Koh Kroach Community Fisheries, Sre Krasaing commune, Siem Bouk district of Stung Treng province. He joined a training course in June last year. With the support from the project, he raised 1,000 catfish fingerlings in a plastic pond for the first cycle that lasted 3 months. At the end of the cycle, he harvested his pond and collected 47 kg of catfish. He kept 12 kg for food, and sold the rest for 350,000 riels ($85).
Having seen the success in the first cycle, Bour decided to continue the business by investing his own resources. As of June 2022, after 3 more cycles of fish raising and vegetable growing, her earned a total income of 820,000 riels ($200) and kept 148 kg of catfish for food.
Kang Bour said that since he started his activity, he not only had enough fish and vegetables to eat, but also generated income to support his family of eight people. Moreover, Bour started playing a vital role in raising awareness on the conservation of the Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle in his village. He finally stopped fishing, given the success of his fish raising activity.
There is 94% decrease in the number of threats compared to the baseline: 1threat/4km. 74% decrease in threats along the Mekong River and 76% decrease in Sre Ambel River System, according to SMART patrol data collected last June.
This project is funded by the European Union-Partners against Wildlife Crime Project and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropy and implemented by WCS.