In Laos, aquatic insects and other invertebrates play an important role as food for rural people because they are free to harvest from nature. An increase in modern harvesting techniques such as new fishing equipment means that traditional methods and local knowledge have become rare, such as using local bamboo products to make scoop basket, traps, and other types of handmade gear. Drag nets (a king of seine net), are one kind of traditional gear used to harvest all kinds of aquatic organisms, including frog tadpoles, small crabs, and water bugs. During field work, FISHBIO Lao staff observed a group of school children in Kengmeaw Village in Savannakeht Province using this technique in rice fields during the early wet season (May to June) to collect daily food for their families.
Kengmeaw Village has total of population of 754 people in 130 households and 160 families. The village is located far away from the township of Atsaphone, about 75 km on the main dirt road. The primary natural products harvested during the wet season are bamboo shoots, wild mushrooms, wild vegetables, water bugs and other aquatic animals, and fish. These wild foods help families diversify their diets and income. There could be big challenges in the future for these families as illegal logging, wildlife poaching, and other threats affect natural biodiversity and the food chain. This underscores how important it is to conserve and maintain natural resources for long-term sustainable use.