What to eat when the fish are gone?

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How about an endangered bird? A recent article in the Wader Study Group Bulletin has found that declines in local fisheries, combined with poverty and hunger, have led villagers in Myanmar to use monofilament nets to catch birds for food. One of the birds frequently snagged in the nets is the highly endangered spoon-billed sandpiper, with an estimated population of only about 200 individuals. Researchers estimate that the species could be extinct within 10-20 years. Fish have long been the main source of protein for people in Myanmar and throughout the larger Mekong Basin of Southeast Asia. As this region rapidly changes, increasing pressure on fisheries resources and declines in their populations are causing rippling effects to people and ecosystems. The importance of fish for villager livelihoods and the rate of development in the Mekong Basin motivate us at FISHBIO to continue our collaborative research and conservation projects in this region.

Photo source: FISHBIO