Little fishers

Child fishers

You’re never too young to start fishing in the Mekong River basin. In places like Lao PDR where people depend on fish and other aquatic animals for subsistence, all the members of a family often need to pitch in to harvest food, regardless of age or gender. During the weekends, rural children usually spend time helping their parents find more food. Scoop nets are a common type of fishing gear that girls and women use, similar to lift nets (See Need a lift?). While visiting Tha Thout village in Khammouane province in central Lao PDR, FISHBIO staff took these photos of children using scoop nets to harvest aquatic insects and larvae. Some girls in this village also collect water bugs with their hands, as shown in this video. When they return home, they will likely use the insects to make food for their parents, either mixing in soup with vegetables or frying them to eat with sticky rice and chili sauce.

Scoops nets are a traditional type of gear developed to fish without harming all aquatic life. People in Tha Thout village believe that the diversity of the aquatic ecosystem would be depleted if they used more modern fishing methods, such as dynamite, electric shockers, or poison, in their local reservoir. The reservoir’s spring water comes from a cave and flows down to a catchment area, providing clean water that villagers use to wash clothes, take baths, use for irrigation, and, of course, fish in. To preserve the balance of natural resources, it helps to fish with a light touch.

Child fishers harvesting with scoop nets