Wednesday February 11, 2015


The lives of Northern Lao PDR communities are built around fish as they are a valuable source of food and income.  Decline in fisheries productivity and fish diversity would lead to economic and health problems for people in this region.

To prevent this from happening, FISHBIO, a fisheries and environmental consulting company based in the United States and Lao PDR, developed a fish conservation project called ‘Establishing co-managed Fish Conservation Zones (FCZs) to help communities protect endangered Probarbus fish in the mainstream Mekong River of northern Lao PDR’. The project aims to support local communities in their decision to protect important spawning areas for endangered fish species. This in turn can help increase the catch of non-protected species, thereby improving livelihoods. The project, funded by IUCN and the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF), builds on biodiversity surveys and village workshops previously conducted by IUCN with funding from CEPF.

CEPF provides grants to civil society organizations to help protect biodiversity hotspots – the planet’s most biologically rich but heavily threatened regions. In 2013, IUCN and CEPF launched a USD10.4 million, five-year investment for the conservation of globally important biodiversity in the ‘Indo-Burma Hotspot’ comprising Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and parts of southern China. IUCN is leading CEPF’s Regional Implementation Team (RIT) in the Indo-Burma hotspot, working together with Myanmar Environment Rehabilitation-conservation Network (MERN) in Myanmar, and Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG) in China.

“FISHBIO’s FCZ initiative not only conserves aquatic biodiversity but also supports community food security, household income and sustainable livelihoods,” said Mr. Adam Starr, Country Manager for IUCN Lao PDR.  “We believe this project will be of great benefit to communities and I am very pleased to see such a positive response from local people who have been engaged with the project.”

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