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Title: Improving Food Security, Household Nutrition, and Trade Through Sustainable Aquaculture and Aquatic Resource Management in Cambodia and Vietnam
Theme: Enhanced Trade Opportunities for Global Fishery Markets
Lead US University: University of Connecticut - Avery Point
Lead Host Country University: Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute
The productive Mekong fisheries are essential to the food security and nutrition of the 60 million people of the Lower Mekong Basin. Fish, from capture and culture, are a significant source of income and food security in Cambodia and Vietnam. The rapid growth of freshwater aquaculture in both countries represents an opportunity to improve the livelihood of their residents. Climate change, however, coupled with population growth and overexploitation of fisheries, poses a threat to productivity and viability of sustainable aquaculture operations. This project builds on past AquaFish Innovation Lab work through five integrated investigations that support the development of sustainable aquaculture, enhancement of trade, and improvement of aquatic resource management, with a focus on sustainable snakehead aquaculture after the ban of snakehead farming was lifted in Cambodia in April 2016. To address the sustainability of the popular snakehead industry, researchers work to develop alternative cost-effective feeds, compare growth performance and survival rate of different snakehead strains, and improve value-added processing techniques typically undertaken by women. A household survey explores the availability of fish, as well as perceived versus actual benefits of consuming fish. The results of these efforts will inform strategies and policies that address nutritional deficits, particularly for women and children in Cambodia.
Current Research (2016 - 2018)
AquaFish Innovation Lab 2013-2015 work in Cambodia and Vietnam built on past program work with a focus on poverty alleviation and food security improvement through sustainable aquaculture development and aquatic resources management. With a strong emphasis on policy change and governance, this project addressed the interconnection between these issues and climate change through six integrated investigations. The impact of climate change on fisheries value chains was analyzed to provide a better understanding of the issues facing the fish industry and inform adaptive management options and policies. To address the sustainability of the high value snakehead industry, researchers worked to develop alternative cost-effective feeds and improve value-added processing techniques typically undertaken by women. Local scientists, managers, and regulators were trained to estimate the aquaculture carrying capacity of their region to help reduce the ecological impacts of farming operations. A household survey was conducted to explore the availability of fish, as well as perceived versus actual benefits of consuming fish. The results of these efforts informed strategies that address nutritional deficits, particularly for women and children in Cambodia.