Sustaining Diverse Fisheries in the Mekong Basin

Rapid riverine development is threatening the productivity and long term sustainability of Lower Mekong River capture fisheries. Over 200 new dam projects are approved every year to drive power generation and irrigation productivity. Few developments consider fisheries resources despite global recognition that infrastructure can substantially decrease productivity. Fish in the Mekong have a strong cultural, social and economic value. The total capture fishery harvest is approximately 2 million tonnes, which equates to 2% of global fisheries catch. The average Lower Mekong citizen consumes 29 kg of fish per year, providing an important protein and micronutrient source. It is widely accepted that decreases in fishery productivity will adversely impact for the 60 million people that rely on fish from the system. River development will impact capture fisheries by eliminating connectivity, providing a direct mortality source, and through habitat and flow regime changes associated with impounding. Much fisheries-related work is underway in the Mekong but it is being conducted by a range of different scientists, from different countries across many different organisations.
Lee Baumgartner
Lee Baumgartner
Richard S. Brown and Shaara Ainsley
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