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Fish fights over fish rights: Conflicts arising from re-allocation of fishing lots: perceptions from community fisheries in Cambodia
- Fish has long been part of the staple diet of the Cambodian people. As Cambodia moves towards a free market economy, the commercial pressure on natural resources has dramatically increased. Privatization of the remaining fishery resources has been affecting the local livelihoods, leading to an alarming increase in conflict over the fishery resources. In order to protect the people’s livelihood and natural resources, the NGOs have advocated that the government institutions must exert more efforts in solving the problems in fisheries. Many boundaries of the fishing lots were either neglected or the government was not able to redemarcate them during the war. This has resulted in confrontation between the lot owners and the local residents. Many fishing lot owners are speculated to be taking advantage of the situation. Additionally, violence also happened in the former abandoned fishing grounds controlled by the military. Fishing villagers used to customarily access the areas. When the war ended in 1999, however, fishing lot owners wanted to annex these areas to the neighborhood fishing lot areas. As an attempt to mitigate the abovementioned conflicts, this study of fish fights over fish rights was initiated. The aims of the project were to develop a broad framework for addressing approach for reducing over capacity in Southeast Asia, and to examine where fisheries conflicts may arise and provide plans to ameliorate these conflicts and its role in reducing conflicts and enhancing national/regional security.