The Cambodia Programme for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in the Fisheries Sector (Capfish) is going swimmingly and the Kingdom is examining other opportunities for policy and engagement to maintain steady growth in the field.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon made the remark at a virtual meeting with EU ambassador Carmen Moreno, held on June 30 to discuss progress on Capfish.

Representatives of development partners such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO), Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) were also present.

Co-funded by the EU and covering a five-year period from July 2019-June 2023, Capfish has two components – one on aquaculture and one on capture fisheries.

The Capfish-Capture sub-programme is being carried out with an €87 million ($103 million) contribution from the EU and an €11 million counterpart fund from the Cambodian government and development partners.

Capfish is designed to support the Cambodian government’s efforts to achieve sustainable development, climate resilience and inclusivity of the Kingdom’s freshwater and marine fisheries resources.

The programme addresses issues facing the fisheries sector, especially those related to illegal and unreported fishing.

At June 30’s meeting, the minister said Cambodia and the EU had reviewed Capfish’s early-stage results, identifying its strengths and weaknesses and outlining new action plans and measures to continue to drive the fisheries sector forward, in line with the programme’s objectives and other government targets.

Overall, both sub-programmes achieved “proud results”, even as the Kingdom grapples with an intensifying Covid-19 surge, according to him.

“We appreciate the cooperation and support of the EU and relevant state institutions that have contributed to the promotion of aquaculture production and growth in the sector,” Sakhon said.

Moreno said the Cambodian aquaculture sector has taken on an active and essential role in undergirding national economic growth, food sustainability and sustaining living standards in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.

She pledged continued support for the fisheries sector, to ensure food security, as well as sustainable preservation and conservation of natural freshwater and marine resources.

She voiced optimism that Capfish would shore up family economies of the greater Cambodian aquaculture and fishing community in the long run.