Koh Rong Samloem, Preah Sihanouk Province, Cambodia — A hands-on training course organized by the Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) has helped raise awareness and understanding amongst Cambodian government, marine police and navy personnel of the importance of fisheries resource management.
Taking place in Koh Rong Samloem, Preah Sihanouk Province from 19-22 December 2010, the introduction to marine biology, marine ecology, safety and MCS (Monitoring, Control and Surveillance) set out to boost knowledge of key resource management issues while also enthusing participants to become more involved in the protection of the marine environment.
Taking part were 45 representatives from Cambodian coastal provinces, fisheries cantonments and inspectorates, the central Fisheries Administration (FiA), marine police and Royal Cambodian Navy. Cambodia has rich marine resources however habitats have and are being seriously damaged by excessive, illegal and destructive fishing as well as habitat loss and pollution. High population growth and increasing demand for marine fisheries products for both local and international markets have also negatively impacted fisheries resources and the small-scale fishing communities dependent on these resources.
Participants used large maps of their cantonment areas to mark habitats, species and marine activities within their area. They also identified and assessed threats to the marine ecosystem and shared ideas on protection measures and problem solving. This helped evaluate participants' knowledge and possible gaps in their understanding of their marine environment.
All participants were also taught basic lifesaving skills, first aid, CPR and in-water rescue training, thus boosting confidence in their ability to assist themselves or others in need.
"This was a tiring four-day training course, but it is important for the individuals involved as well as the whole fisheries sector because this knowledge will be used to manage Cambodia's fisheries resources." said Mr. Ly Vuthy, Deputy Director, Community Fisheries Development Department of the Cambodian Fisheries Administration.
Yos Chanthana, RFLP Consultant for Fisheries Co-Management, emphasized the practical nature of the training. “Training all too often takes place in air conditioned hotel rooms. The purpose here is to link theoretical knowledge and actual practice on site,” he said.
The training was organized by the Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) in collaboration with the Cambodian Fisheries Administration (FiA) and Marine Conservation Cambodia (MCC).
The Regional Fisheries Livelihood Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) sets out to strengthen capacity among participating small-scale fishing communities and their supporting institutions in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. The RFLP is funded by the Kingdom of Spain and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) working in close collaboration with national authorities in participating countries. This initiative contributes to the implementation of the Integrated Coastal Management Programme in the province.
Article contributed by Marine Skopal.