Dwindling numbers

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

The catch is shrinking Gone are the glorious days when a giant fish catch took place in Tonle Sap -- Southeast Asia's biggest lake. Today, the size of the fish catch is getting smaller and smaller because fish is netted faster than it breeds. Not only does this threaten the livelihood of fisherfolk, scientists fear the future of the lake and the annual floods so crucial to its fisheries could also be at risk. The lake gets water from Mekong river. It is because of this flow that fish were earlier found in shoals in the lake. But not anymore. Experts aver that dams in the river's upper reaches are affecting the annual ebb and flow and reducing the occurrence of floods. "Not only are dams decreasing water flow, they also cut off access for fish larvae to their spawning areas," said Zalinge, a Mekong River Commission biologist. A dam in China and another proposed project spans the Mekong. Apart from these, minor irrigation projects dot its watershed. And more huge projects in the pipeline mean further cause for concern for the already depleting fisheries.

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