The consultation provided the opportunity to discuss the outcomes of a series successful projects that have been implemented over the past decade in the Asian region by both Deakin University and NACA with financial support from ACIAR.
The consultation was welcomed by His Excellency Mao Vuthy, Vice Governor of Siem Reap Province and opened by His Excellency Nao Thuok, Director General of the Fisheries Administration of Cambodia.
Introductory remarks were made by Dr Chris Barlow, Fisheries Programme Manager of ACIAR, Dr Cherdsak Virapat, Director General of NACA, Dr So Nam, Coordinator of the Fisheries Programme of the Mekong River Commission, and Dr Chumnarn Pongsiri, Director General of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center.
The consultation began with a session on the general considerations to be taken into account in culture-based fisheries activities. Presentations addressed general aspects of stock enhancement, site selection and genetic considerations. This was followed by a series of presentations on the project’s outcomes in Lao and Cambodia, including both technical aspects, profit sharing models developed by participating communities, induced breeding and broodstock management, and the use of reciprocal exchange visits and communication centres to help sharing of experience both between countries and individual communities.
The following sessions were dedicated to presentations and discussions on stock enhancement practices in Mekong riparian countries and on culture-based fisheries experience from other Asian countries, including China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Vietnam. Participants spent the last day of the meeting visiting the Great lake (Tonle Sap) to observe fisheries practices and the way of life of the fishing communities living out on the water.
From the discussions it was evident that culture-based fisheries are very much seen as a valuable and environmentally friendly development option for rural communities. It was noted that culture-based fisheries has gained significant momentum over the past few years and recently become something of a hot issue, being taken up in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Lao PDR and with the first steps having been made to introduce it to Cambodia under the present project.
Participants strongly requested both NACA and ACIAR to pursue follow up activities to consolidate the gains that have been made.