Community Fisheries Refuge Data portal (CFR)

Freshwater fisheries is extremely important in Cambodia, for food security, nutrition and livelihoods. Reduced availability of critical aquatic habitats, especially dry season refuge areas, have an impact on fish diversity and abundance. To improve protection of critical fish habitats, FiA has supported the establishment of a total of 938 Community Fish Refuge areas (CFR), across the country (all inland), to protect dry season refuge areas where mostly is disconnected to natural water bodies. By protecting areas that act as dry season refuges areas for broodstock, fish production will be boosted when fish re-colonise surrounding floodplain areas during the wet season, increasing diversity and abundance of fish available to support food security and livelihoods of local communities.

Data collection on the socio-ecological status of Community Fish Refuge areas alongside an assessment of the involvement and capacity of the community and management status, is undertaken by the Fisheries Administration (FiA) Department of Aquaculture Development (DAD), that is responsible for the management and development of Community Fish Refuges across Cambodia. Data collection is largely project driven and infrequent depending on scarce funding. Data on CFRs is available for some provinces, mainly around the Tonle Sap area, collected with support from WorldFish. Most Community Fish Refuges, are only covered by basic data on the location, size and community organisation, with other information on ecological functionality, capacity assessment, sources of funding or effectiveness incomplete or not collected. In response to this, during 2021, a survey was prepared and conducted for Community Fish Refuge inventory, this was restarted during 2022 after a process to improve the questionnaire used. FAO CAPFISH Capture supported the review of the survey and development of electronic data collection tools, using Kobo Toolbox. Financial support from GIZ, enabled WorldFish to provide operational support for conducting the survey in addition to data collected by FiA. This survey was finished early 2023, covering all Community Fish Refuges in Cambodia. Additional surveys are planned and are expected to be conducted on a regular basis, during 2023 funds under EU budget support are used to conduct an CFR effectiveness assessment for 100 CFRs.

In order for all available data and information to be accessible and available a Community Fish Refuge Data Portal was developed by Open Development Cambodia, under technical support from FAO CAPFISH Capture project. It contains a number of data sets for surveys conducted by FiA’s Department of Aquaculture Development over the years, with a wide range of information on individual Community Fish Refuges. The location of each Community Fish Refuge Data Portal is indicated on a map, linked to details about each refuge area, indicating which data sets are available and can be downloaded. The system allows additional data sets for a sub set of CFRs to be added for access by end users and is designed to give access to information about specific refuge areas, understanding the community's role in managing them, and obtain a better understanding of local conservation efforts. The Community Fish Refuge Data Portal allows policymakers, DP/NGOs, local authorities and community committee and members to use the available data for prioritizing support for individual Community Fish Refuges and to collaborate on protection of Cambodia's aquatic ecosystems. The data portal is meant to be a collaborative tool and will be developed further, based on feedback by end users.