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Eat Your Fish and Sell It, Too – Livelihood Choices of Small-Scale Fishers in Rural Cambodia

Hartje, Rebecca, Bühler, Dorothee, Grote, Ulrike
Ecological economics 2018 v.154 pp. 88-98
anthropometric measurements, children, energy intake, fish, fisheries, food security, households, income, issues and policy, livelihood, natural resources, surveys, Cambodia
Our paper assesses the effects of environmental income deriving from small-scale capture fishery on household food security in Cambodia. We extend the sustainable livelihood framework to depict the complex relationship between rural livelihood portfolios and food security by (i) distinguishing between in-kind income and cash income from all important household activities, and (ii) considering protein and calorie intake along with anthropometric data to shed light on all four dimensions of food security. The analysis is based on survey data from 600 households in rural Cambodia. Our results underline the importance of fishing for food security across all income quartiles. Furthermore, we establish a positive connection between small-scale capture fishery and child anthropometrics. Against the background of potentially declining fish stocks we find that there are currently hardly any alternatives to fishing for poorer households, who are most dependent on capture fishery. We hence urge policy makers to support livelihood activities that supplement fishing income. This would help to enhance sustainable fish stock management, conserve natural resources and simultaneously prevent growing food insecurity.