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Cambodia's wetlands cover over 30 percent of the country’s land area and support one of the largest, most diverse and intensive freshwater fisheries in the world. In the flood season (July-February), the flood waters from the Mekong River and Tonle Sap Lake catchments create a vast open water system on Cambodia’s lowlands. During this period, inundated rice fields become open access fishing grounds for local villagers and migrant fishers.
Small fish are a common food and an integral part of the everyday carbohydraterich diets of many population groups in poor countries. These populations also suffer from undernutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies – the hidden hunger. Small fish species, as well as the little oil, vegetables and spices with which they are cooked enhance diet diversity. Small fish are a rich source of animal protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
In the State of Assam, floodplains cover 2.6 million ha of area that is traditionally rice growing. The ecosystem in the rice-growing areas has undergone major changes as a result of various developmental activities and adoption of modern farming technology. Rice fields were once the major source of fish for the rural farmers. There has been a sharp decline in fish population in rice field leading to a chronic shortage of fish in the State and a deterioration of the rice ecosystem.