The importance of the fish resource in the Mekong River and examples of best practices

The Mekong is an exceptional river in many ways. In terms of fish biodiversity, it is the world’s second richest river after the Amazon (www.fishbase. org). With 6 to 18% of the global freshwater fish catch, it is also home to the largest freshwater fisheries in the world. The productive Mekong fisheries are essential to the food security of the 60 million people of the Lower Mekong Basin. Fish contributes 81% of the population’s protein intake in Cambodia and 48% in Laos. Mekong inland fisheries also provide employment to 1.6 of the 14 million Cambodians.

Functional aquatic ecosystems, inland fisheries and the Millennium Development Goals

Freshwater allocation in an environment of increasing demand and declining quality and availability is a major societal challenge. While biodiversity and the needs of local communities are often in congruence, the over-riding necessity of meeting national demands for power, food and, increasingly, mitigation of the hydrological effects of climate change, often supersedes these.

Songs of the Doomed: The continuing neglect of capture fisheries in hydropower development in the Mekong

Since early 2007 there has been a repid acceleration in hydropower development in the Mekong Basin. The consequence of this development on fisheries in the area has been downnplayed. Aim of this chapter Discussion reverts to a 'conventional wisdom' that the captured fisheries are doomed. Fisheries are being downplayed. The aim of this chapter is to place this 'conventional wisdom' of doom under closer critical scrutiny.

Fishpen culture as a new production system in dammed valleys in the mid-Casamance, Senegal.

Fishpen culture is a possible means to increase fish production in Casamance, Senegal and to develop aquaculture without negative environmental effects. To study this possibility, a fishpen study was conducted in two dammed valleys, Guidir and Balobar in the area. Wild Sarotherodon melanotheron from 7.7 to 25.4 g and Tilapia guineensis from 7.7 to 35.0 g were stocked at densities ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 individuals/ super(m). Results are summarized in this article.

Fisheries potential of village dams in northern Ghana.

Results of a twelve-month assessment of the fisheries and aquaculture potential of small waterbodies (SWBs) in the West Gonja District of Northern Ghana are presented. The primary objectives of the project were to established whether the fisheries within the reservoir basins in the West Gonja and Nanumba Districts (Northern Region) could be enhanced and aquaculture associated with the SWBs could be viable.

Redistribution of water use and benefits among hydropower affected communities in Lao PDR

In this paper, we assess how resettlement and changes in water access have altered livelihoods of local communities upstream of the Theun Hinboun Expansion Project in Lao PDR. Based on household surveys conducted both before and after resettlement, we estimate changes in water use and benefits among households of 4 resettled villages.

How much of the Mekong fish catch is at risk from mainstream dam development?

In the absence of reliable data on the species composition of the catch in the Lower Mekong Basin, the authors look at three approaches to estimate the size of the region’s migratory fish resources.The article, based on three different studies, concludes that 700,000 tonnes to 1.6 million tonnes of migratory fish are at risk. These possible losses correspond to respectively five times the size of the fishery sector in Finland and the whole fishery sector in Denmark.

Diagnostic study of the Volta Basin fisheries: Part 2 Livelihoods and poverty analysis, current trends and projections

The Basin Focal Project for the Volta (BFP-Volta) is a research project funded by the Challenge Programme on Water and Food (CPWF). Its aim is to provide an in-depth analysis of issues related to water in the Volta Basin through three main thematic issues: water-poverty, water availability/use and water productivity. The overall objective of the BFP-Volta is to contribute to the main goal of the CPWF, that is, to alleviate poverty through better management of water in order to enhance agricultural productivity and environment conservation.

Dams and fisheries in the Mekong Basin

This paper draws on approaches in ecology, biology and policy analysis to examine the tensions between dams and fisheries in the Lower Mekong Basin. We review the exceptional importance of Mekong fisheries in terms of total catch, economic value and their role in rural livelihoods. The ecological conditions necessary to sustain the fish production are also analysed. The paper then considers the implications of dam development in the Mekong Basin, drawing on recent research to review predicted changes in hydrology and the resulting impacts on fishery resources.


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