July 19, 2020

Cambodia urges sustainable aquaculture as fish yield drops



Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen urged farmers to engage in sustainable aquaculture activities to boost domestic production, and in turn, aid the national economy, Khmer Times reported.


During a field visit at the Freshwater Aquaculture Research and Development Centre (FARDC) in Prey Veng province yesterday, Hun Sen said the aquaculture sector has made significant progress in contributing to food security and nutrition in Cambodia.


Though the premier acknowledged challenges faced across several sectors since the pandemic struck, he said agriculture, especially fish farming, was spared from its impacts.


Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon said the FARDC plays a vital role in conducting research in fish farming and enforcing other activities, such as aquaculture technical training, among others.


Over the years, FARDC has built a reputation in aquaculture development, known to have cultured millions of fish and other aquatic animals, of various species, annually.


Such species include the catfish, trout, tilapia, frogs and lobsters, all of which are distributed to farmers across the country.


A report from the Agriculture Ministry published yesterday said fish and shrimp farming saw stronger growth during the first half of this year, reaching 135,415 tonnes from last year's first-half figure of 112,846 tonnes.


However, total freshwater fish yield during the first half amounted to 1,500 tonnes, equivalent to 12.5% of this year's target yield. The number saw a nearly 40% decrease from last year's 2,370 tonnes.


Total saltwater fish yield this year stands at 57,160 tonnes or 51.96% of the total target yield.


Likewise, the number posed a decline of 640 tonnes from the same period last year.


The report said the decline in both freshwater and saltwater yields contributed to lower fish processing figures for the first six months.


Revenue from the fisheries sector has so far reached approximately US$83,000—a significant drop from last year's first-half revenue of about US$91,000.


Freshwater fish exports amounted to 1,194 tonnes, a 78% decline from last year, the report said.


Fish processing exports stand at 232 tonnes, equivalent to 4.64% of the 15,000-target figure.


This marks an increase of 3,018 tonnes compared with last year.