A fishery at risk and the limits to adaptation : a study of Cambodian Community Fishery organisations’ role in reducing livelihood vulnerability to climate change in their communities

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Abstract: Cambodia’s small-scale fisheries support the livelihoods of a major part of the country's rural population and play a crucial role in food security. Climate change-related impacts alongside geopolitical changes harm the aquatic ecosystems the fishery depends on, and thus contain a great threat to both food security and rural fishery-based livelihoods in the country. During the last two decades, the government of Cambodia has implemented major political reforms aiming towards decentralising the management of natural resources. Following that, local organisations called Community Fisheries have been established as the main local level institution to organise the management of fishery resources. Being the main local institution responsible for fishery-based livelihoods and natural resource management, Community Fisheries are now essential when dealing with climate-related impacts on fishery in their local communities. Through field visits and semi-structured interviews with Community Fishery committees and members from five Cambodian Community Fisheries in three different provinces, this thesis seeks to understand how the work of Community Fishery organisations can contribute to reduce livelihood vulnerability and strengthen the local communities’ capacity to adapt to climate-related impacts. Furthermore, the thesis discusses Community Fisheries socio-political role on climate change adaptation. Community Fisheries conduct various measures and livelihood strategies to meet local challenges in their villages, that can improve both generic and specific capacities to adapt and reduce livelihood vulnerability in their local communities. However, the impacts from the various changes the communities are dealing with seem to exceed the limit of adaptation on a local level in a long-term perspective.

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