There’s no big fish anymore, says Mekong fisherman

Fisherman Tin Yusos tucks into a meal of the previous day’s catch with his family aboard a boat which doubles as their home by the banks of the Tonle Sap River.

They plan to set out for another day of fishing in the area of the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers, though his expectations are low.

“There are no big fish anymore, ” said Tin Yusos, 57.

In the past, he could get a haul of about 30kg of fish a day. Now he often catches just over 1kg.

Experts blame hydropower projects, sand mining, deforestation, wetland conversion and climate change for dramatic drops in water levels in the region’s rivers, severely disrupting fishing and threatening food supplies for millions.

Marc Goichot, an expert on the region’s waterways at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), said dams and sand mining in particular can contribute to a loss of fish.

“Basically, the entire system is under stress and changing, ” he said.

“We need to address the root causes of those changes and re-establish the key processes like movement of fish.”

Ly Safi, 32, another fisherman, said that this year’s catch had been his worst.

“Some fishermen could save up some money and have some left to do business on land, but for us we can’t, ” he said. — Reuters

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Tonle Sap River , fishing , food , fish


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