Fish provides 80% of protein in the Cambodian diet--making it an indispensable protein source. Rural Cambodia faces great environmental challenges today including desertification, punishing droughts and climate change--placing great strain on fish harvests. Rice paddies are flooded in the wet season, enticing fish communities to wander into fields to graze and mate. At the end of the wet season, these water systems begin to recede, leaving fish stranded in fields--only to perish.
The Community Fish Refuge (CFR) is a unique response to the environmental challenges in Cambodia. The theory behind a CFR is simple--it provides a temporary habitat for stranded and newly stocked fish communities during the dry season, ensuring their survival until the rice paddies are again flooded. Then fish communities will return to a larger body of water to spawn and feed. Their survival is key to preserve fish biodiversity, and increase fish populations--yielding a larger fish harvest.
As the old proverb states, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and he will feed for a lifetime." That is--if there is still fish left to catch! The CFR will sustain fish populations, alleviate pressures of poverty, and ensure food security to entire village community. Once trained, the community will be able to take over operations of CFRs, assuring their rightful return to self-sufficiency and sustainability.
This project has provided additional documentation in a DOCX file (projdoc.docx).
World Fish Center CFR Report (2012)
USAID CFR Reports
Indiana University CFR Report
Cambodian Aquaculture Report (2010)