Fieldwork to formalities

Researching fish in the Mekong Basin of Southeast Asia is about a lot more than fieldwork and data collection. We also spend time with the teams for strategic planning, discussing challenges as they arise, developing ways to handle unique situations, and brainstorming on how we can enhance cooperation with local fishers and families that we survey. The fieldwork is essential, providing us with the data necessary to address the questions that government resource managers have asked FISHBIO to help answer. In the first photo a team of our technicians identifies species, weighs and measures individual fish, and interviews the fishers about the gear they use and their fishing habits. However, this essential fieldwork could never succeed if we didn’t take the time to sit and talk about the logistics required for completing the work and the reality of life in the villages. For example, there is a special day every two weeks when the people observe a Buddhist tradition of doing no work (or fishing) and only go to help at the temple or do good deeds for the community. This is just one factor we have to consider when planning our field work and ensuring that our methods will function given the reality of life in a small village of Lao PDR.