Regional Sustainability ›› 2021, Vol. 2 ›› Issue (1): 1-11.doi: 10.1016/j.regsus.2020.12.002

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Co-management of small-scale fishery in the Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

Serey Soka,*(), Xiaojiang Yub   

  1. aResearch Office, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Russian Federation Boulevard, Phnom Penh, 12150, Cambodia
    bSchool of Geosciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, 2006, Australia
  • Received:2020-07-30 Revised:2020-12-10 Accepted:2020-12-24 Online:2021-01-20 Published:2021-03-11
  • Contact: Serey Sok


In Cambodia, fishery co-management is an important process to transfer authority and ownership to the communities along the Tonle Sap Lake to manage fishery. This paper aims to determine why the co-management of small-scale fishery has not been implemented satisfactorily in the Tonle Sap Lake of Cambodia. The research was primarily based on a household survey among 404 households for quantitative data, equally divided between the Cham (202 households) and Khmer (202 households). Participatory process was also applied to collect qualitative data from key stakeholders. We found that limited interaction among the involved stakeholders, i.e., unequal distribution of authority and resources co-management, has impeded implementation. The engagement of fisherfolk was influenced by dependence on fishery, law enforcement, and events organized by the communities. While the Khmer had better opportunities to participate in planning at the provincial and district levels, the Cham were only engaged in local development activities initiated by their people. However, the latter evinced a higher rate of satisfaction due to their access to fishery resources and to a large quantity of fishing gear. In the future, efforts should be made to: (1) improve resource and authority sharing among all key stakeholders; (2) urgently resolve issues pertinent to capacity building, insufficient budgets for commune councils (CoCs) and community fishery (CFi); and (3) urge law enforcement regarding illegal fishing.

Key words: Small-scale fishery, Co-management, Local planning process, Community fishery, Tonle Sap Lake