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State-Society Relations in Natural Resources: A Case Study on Fishery Politics in Cambodia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Dina, Thol; Sato, Jin
Conference: Commoners and the Changing Commons: Livelihoods, Environmental Security, and Shared Knowledge, the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Mt. Fuji, Japan
Conf. Date: June 3-7
Date: 2013
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8977
Sector: Fisheries
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): natural resources
resource management
Abstract: "Despite the general tendency for governments to enclose natural resources for the purpose of economic development, as seen often in many parts of Southeast Asia, the government of Cambodia has initiated interventions of an apparently opposite direction. In 2001, the government reformed the countrys management and regulations of its fisheries by reducing the size and numbers of fishing lots in Tonle Sap, previously allocated for private owners and designating 56 percent of private fishing sites as open access areas. In 2011-2012, the government again intervened in Tonle Sap through the closure of all fishing lots, allocating more than 70 percent of the areas to communal use, and firing certain high-ranking fisheries officers for their inactions in fisheries management. These interventions in the great lake trigger a question: what was the rationale behind these state measures? The government has always indicated that the main objectives of their intervention in Tonle Sap were conflict reduction and conservation of the lakes resources. However, this paper demonstrates that there are other plausible reasons such as the pretence of accountability to win elections and bureaucratic politics among the related agencies. Re-territorialisation, we argue, can be seen as a subtle means to achieve a more penetrating territorialisation that may result in the deterioration of the governance of the ecology as well as the economy of the region."

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