Cambodia’s fishing sector is among the most likely in Asia to be hurt by climate change, according to a study by international NGO World Fish Center.
Fisheries in Cambodia, along with those in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Yemen, were identified as the most vulnerable to global warming, the Malaysia-based research organization said in its research released last month.
The study compared the vulnerability of 132 countries on the basis of the exposure of their fisheries to climate change, the economic and dietary importance of fishing, and the socio-economic ability to adapt to a changing climate.
Cambodia was ranked number 30 in the global list, though the majority of the most vulnerable countries were African, the World Fish Center study found.
“I don’t worry about climate change, but I am worried about dam-making on the Mekong Riv-er,” Minister of Agriculture Chan Sarun said Sunday. Development would reduce fish habitats and thus the fish population, he said.
His ministry is educating people in aquaculture, teaching them how to raise fish in ponds in order to reduce dependence on rivers and the sea for fish, Chan Sarun said.
The total fish catch from the sea and inland waters and rivers last year was around 431,000 tons, Chan Sarun said, adding that this was a slight drop from the year be-fore, although he could not recall those figures. However, 40,000 tons of fish had been raised via aquaculture, which would increase the total fish production, he said.
Government fisheries expert Touch Seang Tana, welcomed the report, saying it was good that it focused attention on the fishing sector, but added that illegal fishing and overfishing are more urgent threats. He added that hydrological development and development of rice fields at the costs of shallow spawning grounds were also affecting fish populations.
Touch Seang Tana said initial research had found breeding seasons was starting later in some areas, possibly because of climate change, and that coral bleaching was observed at some islands off the coast of Koh Kong province.