The study’s results were released in the third seminar on Assessing Economic and Welfare Values of Fish in the Lower Mekong Basin held in Phnom Penh.
Fish is the main source of food for the Cambodian people after rice, the study underlined.
The study was conducted by WorldFish organization in cooperation with the Freshwater Fisheries Development and Research Institute of Cambodia’s Fisheries Administration, Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, and three leading universities of Cambodia, Viet Nam and Thailand, by focusing on the Lower Mekong Basin area covering three countries – Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam.
The project of Assessing Economic and Welfare Values of Fish in the Lower Mekong Basin will provide new data for agricultural and fishery research, said Mr Alan Brooks, WorldFish’s Greater Mekong Region Director, stressing that the project’s results will help decision makers to be aware of the importance of fish in people’s lives.
For his part, H.E. Nao Thuok, Government Delegate in charge of the Fisheries Administration, said freshwater capture fisheries in the Lower Mekong Basin provide 47 to 80 per cent of the animal protein consumed, as well as livelihood opportunities on a large scale.
However in the absence of a solid estimate of the total economic value of these fisheries, their importance remains very poorly recognized by institutions and in development plans, which hampers rural development, he added.
He went on to say that over six million Cambodian people are working directly and indirectly in the fisheries sector, which plays a key role in improving their living conditions as well as in attracting tourists.
Besides fish, Cambodian people also consumed about 3.4 kilograms of pork; 2.2 kilograms of eggs; and 0.4 kilogram of chicken per family per week.