The Mekong River of Southeast Asia travels 4,909 km, all the way from the Tibetan Plateau through China, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Lao PDR (Laos), Cambodia and Vietnam. Things are changing quickly on the Mekong now, and in the past four years regional governments have approved investigations by Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Russian and Chinese companies to prepare for construction of eleven mainstream hydropower dams. In Laos, about 70 dams are under construction or proposed on the Mekong and its major tributaries, including the Nam Kading River. More than 60 million people depend on the fisheries of the Mekong and it’s tributaries for subsistence, and many of the fishes undertake massive migrations upstream from Cambodia and Vietnam. It’s estimated that the value of fisheries in the lower Mekong basin is more than $2 billion USD per year.
FISHBIO, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) program in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), and the Nam Kading National Protected Area (NKNPA) are partnering in Lao PDR to assess harvest rates of native fishes by working together with WCS field staff, the managers of the NKNPA, and nearby river communities to analyze capture and consumption rates by subsistence fishers around the protected area and to determine the contribution of these fisheries to the local economy. Keep watch on our Field Notes page for more updates on this unique and significant research project, including more photos and videos from the rivers of Laos and the mighty Mekong.
Photo source: FISHBIO