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Home > Basin > Indo-Ganges > Community-based fish culture (PN35)

Full Project Title: Community-based fish culture in irrigation systems and seasonal floodplains (PN35)


Fish harvesting in the reservoirs and canals of irrigation systems are important sources of protein and livelihoods for the poor and landless households. Floodplain aquaculture represents an alternative use of floodplain resources that has the potential to enhance water productivity, increase employment opportunities for rural households, and secure access for rural households to critical floodplain resources that support a diverse range of livelihood activities.

The overall objective of the project was to enhance fish production from seasonally flooding areas and irrigation systems using a collective approach to fish culture. The project sought to examine the institutions necessary to support community-approaches to fish culture in a range of social, cultural and economic conditions, in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Vietnam and Mali.

Research Highlights

Research highlights

  • Collective approaches to aquaculture have met with variable success in each of the project countries, with the project delivering different levels of benefits both within and between countries.
  • Negotiating access, management institutions and benefit sharing arrangements within a system where rights are dynamic, overlapping, and heterogeneous has created particular challenges for the development of the project. As a result, only sites in Bangladesh and China generated data over a number of fish culture cycles. Substantial improvements in resource governance were, however, seen in Mali, where the intervention showed strong potential for uptake and dissemination.
Project Outcomes

Project outcomes

  • While the outcomes and impacts of the project were highly variable, there were impacts and changes occurring at a number of levels, from the individual to the institutional including greater understanding of participatory research methods, multi-level capacity building and international partnerships.
  • At the community level, fish culture on a collective basis had a significant impact in communities in Bangladesh, China and Mali. In Vietnam and Cambodia, research furthered our understanding of the conditions for collective action, and specifically for community-based fish culture, that will contribute directly to the development of locally appropriate and technically feasible fish culture systems in both countries. In Cambodia, the project responded to government commitments to establish Community-based Fish Refuge Ponds (FRPs) in every village in the country, by providing best-practice guidelines for FRPs.
  • The opportunity to build international partnerships was also cited as an important outcome of the project, particularly amongst NARES partner participants in China. The increased visibility of local departments, through the connections established through the project, have led to further funding for national level projects in areas that previously received little attention from national level agencies.
Publications and Outputs

To view all outputs from project PN35 visit our document repository.

Selected publications and outputs

Working papers

  1. Impacts of technological interventions on fish production and biodiversity of seasonal floodplains in Bangladesh.
  2. Assessment of potential mare stocking impacts on resource access rights and livelihoods in Komio Village, Niger River Delta, Mali.
  3. Contextual analysis in two villages of the Niger River Inner Delta.
  4. Landscape level characterization of seasonal floodplains under community based aquaculture: illustrating a case of the Ganges and the Mekong Delta
  5. Institutional histories, seasonal floodplains (mares), and livelihood impacts of fish stocking in the Inner Niger River Delta of Mali.
  6. Benefits and challenges of applying Outcome Mapping in an R4D project

Peer-reviewed papers

  1. Joffre, O., Chau, L.N., Ngai, H.H., Pich, S., Heng, K. and N. Sheriff. Community Based Fish Culture model in seasonally flooded rice fields: technical and financial perspectives from experiences in Vietnam and Cambodia (submitted to Aquaculture Economics and  Management).
  2. Joffre, O., Sheriff, N., Chau, L.N., Ngai, H.H. and N.V. Hao. Community-based fish culture – a viable coping strategy for farmers in the Mekong Delta? Advances in Global Change Research (in press).
  3. Haque, ABM., Visser, L., Dey., M. Designing and Testing of Institutional Options for Community Based Fish Culture in the Seasonal Floodplains in Bangladesh (in prep).
  4. Nagabhatla, N., Nguyen-Khoa,S., Beveridge, M., Haque,M., Sheriff, N., Van Brakel,M., Rahman, F. and B. Barman. Multiple-use of water in Bangladesh floodplains: seasonal aquaculture and conjunctive use of surface and groundwater for improved rice fish production systems (submitted).
  5. Rahman, F, Md., Benoy K. Barman, Martin Van and S Dewan. Impacts of technological interventions on fish production and biodiversity of seasonal floodplains in Bangladesh (in prep).

Conference papers and presentations

  1. Barman, B. (forthcoming) Community-based Fish Culture in Seasonal Floodplains in Bangladesh: Lessons Learned. ‘Innovation and Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Food Symposium (ISDA) 2010′ Montpellier, France. June 28-July 1 2010.
  2. Chantrea, Bun. 2009. ‘Community Fish Refuges in Cambodia’ presented at the Cambodia Development Research Forum: 2009 Symposium on the Contribution of Research to National Development Strategies and Policies, 9-10 September 2009, Hotel Cambodiana, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Final Report
Project Partners

Project partners


Project Lead

Project lead

World Fish Center

For more information on Phase 1 outputs please contact Udana Ariyawansa.