To date, some 500 fishery administration officials have been trained in all aspects of SMART implementation to increase their capacity to manage and safeguard fisheries resources, through support from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), with funding from the EU, according to the FAO. 

The FAO’s support complements the CAPFISH-Capture project by increasing the capacity of FiA officials to utilise the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART).

This platform, comprising various software and analysis tools, aids officials in managing and safeguarding fisheries resources. 

“This tool facilitates the collection, storage, analysis, and evaluation of data on patrol efforts, outcomes, threat levels, and other enforcement activities,” FAO stated in a May 17 press release, obtained by The Post on May 20.

Song Hong, deputy director-general of the Fisheries Administration (FiA) at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, explained that SMART patrolling of fisheries has been in place since 2021, with over 45,000 inland and 2,500 marine SMART inspections logged each year.

“Marine and freshwater data models for SMART have been developed, a Khmer language interface for the latest version of SMART software has been implemented for computers and phones, and a core SMART team within the FiA has been established to provide technical support to field staff, manage data, conduct analyses, and update data models,” he added. 

The EU-funded CAPFISH-Capture project aims to enhance compliance with the Kingdom’s fisheries regulations, with the FAO’s technical assistance supporting the FiA to apply SMART technology to strengthen law enforcement.

The achievements of SMART implementation in Cambodia – along with future enforcement strategies using SMART to ensure sustainable fishing practices – were presented during a two-day workshop from May 16-17.

Theodorus Visser, technical specialist (Freshwater Fisheries Management and Information) with FAO Cambodia, said that SMART is used worldwide in more than 1,000 conservation areas across 100 countries and has been adopted by over 25 governments as a standard for data and information management. In Cambodia, it has been deployed as a law enforcement monitoring tool at various terrestrial, freshwater, and marine sites since 2013.