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Cambodia's Great Lake: How to Sustain its Ecological and Economic Diversity

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Thuok, Nao; Ahmed, Mahfuzuddin; Nuov, Sam
Conference: Voices from the Commons, the Sixth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Berkeley, CA
Conf. Date: June 5-8, 1996
Date: 1996
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/154
Sector: Fisheries
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): IASC
water resources
Abstract: "Cambodia's Great Lake is one of the most productive freshwater lake in the world. Located in center of the country's north-west plains, its 3,000 km2 waters expand to more than 6,000 km2 area inside the inundated forests, draining about 67,000 km basin area and feeding the Mekong river's flood water through the Tonle Sap river. The inundated forest that surrounds the lake in a diverse ecosystem consisting of hundreds of plant species and wildlife More than 280 different species of fish utilize this forest for at least 6 months for breeding, nursing and feeding during the monsoonal inundation The six provinces that surround the lake have a population of nearly 3 million people (about 30% of the country's total population). About one third of this population live on floating villages around the lake and within the inundated forests. Fishing and foraging for wood and wildlife,combined with occasional fanning form the principal basis of livelihood of the people. Due to the effects of massive over exploitation of the fisheries and destructive practices in the inundated forests, the resources and their diversities are declining, causing an imbalance in the ecological and economic system. The paper describes current management regime, and identifies the factors that have led the current regulatory management through control and enforcement to become ineffective. Likewise, factors responsible for the current lack of incentive to protect and conserve resources of the lake by its current users have been discussed. The effect of continuing destruction of watershed forests and waste disposal, such as, increasing rate of siltation has been identified as a major threat to the lake ecosystem and its diverse plant and wildlife population. The paper recommends for a more equitable fishing rights distribution and development of partnerships between government authorities and the local fanning and fishing communities as an alternative management option."

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