For many decades, Trapaing Phlong Lake has traditionally been a fishing area for seven villages living nearby. More recently, illegal fishing depleted the stocks of fish, putting the lake’s overall sustainability at risk. Over two thousand villagers in the immediate area depend on the lake for food security.
Due to growing community concerns, control of the lake was given to nearby Prey Dang Hoeum pagoda to manage in 2007. The pagoda found this was beyond their capacity to manage and asked for help. Forum Syd and project partner Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT) were invited to conduct a commune level meeting in October 2012 to find solutions.
At the meeting, Keo Por’s Commune Chief requested engagement with FACT, Forum Syd and other CBOs to stop illegal fishing. (The lake is also bordered by Kat and Krapey Real communes.)
The lake was acknowledged formally by the Fisheries Administration as a conservation area to be managed by community based organisations Prey Dang Hoeum and Kork Russei. These two CBOs elected a seven member elected lake management committee in January 2013. The committee and 7 local villages received advice, capacity building training and financial support from FACT and Forum Syd.
In addition to direct interaction and support of the committee, FACT and Forum Syd provided trainings on fishery / environment laws and natural resource management.
- Establishment of the lake as a conservation area
- Construction and staffing of a guard tower
- Conservation area patrols
- Establishment of a savings group
- Harvesting of aquaculture plant crops
At present, fish in the lake have rebounded in numbers and are estimated at around 10 tons. This benefits not only the local villagers but also the larger community in the three communes bordering the lake.