Accelerating the development of finfish mariculture in Cambodia through south-south research cooperation with Indonesia - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Accelerating the development of finfish mariculture in Cambodia through south-south research cooperation with Indonesia

This project aims to accelerate the expansion of Cambodia’s marine finfish aquaculture industry. With the support of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Cambodian researchers will work closely with members of Indonesia’s established and successful marine finfish aquaculture research and development (R&D) agency to gain mentoring and training support.

In international development terminology, such an arrangement – utilising the expertise in one developing country to support another, with mentoring and support from a traditional donor country, in this case Australia – is called a ‘south-south triangular cooperation’*.


  • evaluate the context favouring successful south-south development cooperation versus traditional bilateral cooperation
  • accelerate the development of marine finfish aquaculture in Cambodia by building inclusive research and development capacity at the Marine Aquaculture Research and Development Centre (MARDeC)
  • support the development of rabbitfish aquaculture in Indonesia as a diversification option for coastal pond farmers

Marine finfish aquaculture is emerging in Cambodia, with a range of challenges to overcome if the industry is to be successful. In 2013, MARDeC was established at Sihanoukville with funding support from Japan.

There is a recognised need for additional training and support to enable MARDeC to fulfil its role of promoting mariculture development in Cambodia.

While marine finfish fingerlings are produced locally, their quality varies and some farmers prefer to import fingerlings from neighbouring countries. Currently, most mariculture farms are ‘traditional’ and use small cages and simple technology. However at least one large-scale sea cage farm is planned which will use large cages and more advanced technologies.

In contrast, marine finfish aquaculture is well established in Indonesia. ACIAR has been a significant contributor to the development of the Indonesian industry through its support of targeted R&D on grow-out nutrition, hatchery technology, and fish health.

As part of this project, Cambodian researchers will be trained in fish nutrition research, based on the 2006 Crawford Fund Aquaculture Nutrition Master Class, and in larval rearing using the best-practice approach documented in ACIAR publications. They will also be embedded in R&D activities at partner institutions in Indonesia.

The R&D activities in Indonesia will be focused on developing fingerling production techniques for rabbitfish (Siganus spp.) and investigating the nutritional requirements of rabbitfish. Most of this research will be undertaken at the Research Institute for Coastal Aquaculture (RICA) Maros in South Sulawesi.

RICA has research facilities at Maros, Barru and Takalar in South Sulawesi, including marine ponds that will be used for larval rearing research and experimental tank systems for nutrition research.

Rabbitfish is a popular fish in restaurants in South Sulawesi, and brings a high market price locally. There is considerable demand for fingerlings from local pond farmers, and any grow-out industry needs to be supported by cost-effective feeds.

Long-term, Cambodian researchers will be trained in fish nutrition, hatchery production and fish health to a high standard that supports local marine finfish aquaculture development.

Ultimately, this will result in improved seedstock quality and quantity, and provision of technical support services that will enable the expansion of the marine finfish aquaculture industry in Cambodia.

*This is the first time that ACIAR has implemented a south-south cooperation model, and part of the project will be an evaluation of its impacts for potential application in other ACIAR projects