Examining Adaptations to Changing Fish Populations of Tonlé Sap Lake in Cambodia: A Case Study of Pursat Province, Cambodia

Bond, Natachia
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University of Guelph

Cambodia is a poverty-stricken country whose rural residents rely heavily on natural resources from Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake, the Tonlé Sap. Some experts are concerned anthropogenic and climate changes threaten this resource. The purpose of this research is to explore livelihoods and the extent to which fishers perceive their livelihoods to be changing in order to better understand strategies for managing the Tonlé Sap. This research is based on a household survey (N=181) in Pursat Province, a fishery dependent province on the southwest shore of the lake, to understand: 1) current livelihood strategies; 2) household demographics; and 3) how fishers perceive changes to fish populations. The results suggest: 1) there is a broad perception that fish catches have remained stable but that there has been a decrease in fish size and species diversity; and 2) most fishing households are resistant to change their livelihood strategies and “locked” into fishing.

Cambodia, Pursat Province, Livelihoods, Adaptability, Indiscriminate Fishing, Tonle Sap, Mekong, Fish