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Can Local Institutions Help Sustain Livelihoods in an Era of Fish Declines and Persistent Environmental Change? A Cambodian Case Study

Author

Listed:
  • Melissa Marschke

    () (School of International Development and Global Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, 120 University Private, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada)

  • Ouk Lykhim

    () (Conservation International, B1-4 Phnom Penh Center, Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

  • Nong Kim

    () (General Department of Administration for Nature Conservation and Protection, Ministry of Environment, 48 Preah Sihanouk Boulevard, Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

Abstract

This paper sets out to explore fishers’ perceptions of environmental change in coastal Cambodia and to then examine the role of local institutions in working with villagers to adapt to such challenges. The analysis shows that: (1) fishers observe species decline, irregular tides and a change in weather patterns; and (2) local institutions have been working to address some of these issues through a series of resource management and livelihood projects for over a decade. We note that local institutions are well placed to deal with certain types of environmental change projects, such as protecting small patches of mangrove trees or creating fish sanctuaries, along with less controversial, tourism-related projects. It is impossible, however, for local institutions to tackle bigger issues, such as over-fishing or large-scale resource extraction. Fishing villages are dealing with multiple challenges (environmental change and beyond), which may make fishing a less viable option for coastal villagers in the medium to long term. As such, key policy responses include acknowledging and building upon the work of local institutions, enhanced support for patrolling at national and provincial levels, developing response scenarios for coastal environmental change, involving local institutions in scientific monitoring and piloting projects that consider fishing and non-fishing livelihoods.

Suggested Citation

  • Melissa Marschke & Ouk Lykhim & Nong Kim, 2014. "Can Local Institutions Help Sustain Livelihoods in an Era of Fish Declines and Persistent Environmental Change? A Cambodian Case Study," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(5), pages 1-16, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:6:y:2014:i:5:p:2490-2505:d:35629
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anthony D’Agostino & Benjamin Sovacool, 2011. "Sewing climate-resilient seeds: implementing climate change adaptation best practices in rural Cambodia," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 16(6), pages 699-720, August.
    2. Edella Schlager & Elinor Ostrom, 1992. "Property-Rights Regimes and Natural Resources: A Conceptual Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 68(3), pages 249-262.
    3. Badjeck, Marie-Caroline & Allison, Edward H. & Halls, Ashley S. & Dulvy, Nicholas K., 2010. "Impacts of climate variability and change on fishery-based livelihoods," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 375-383, May.
    4. Arief Anshory Yusuf & Herminia Francisco, 2009. "Climate Change Vulnerability Mapping for Southeast Asia," EEPSEA Special and Technical Paper tp200901s1, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), revised Jan 2009.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    small-scale fisheries; environmental change; perceptions; institutions; livelihoods; Cambodia;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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