Age-old traditions sustain fishermen

Borneo Bulletin –

On a broad swathe of the Mekong River in Phonsavang village, there is an island where local fishermen have built a small hut so they can shelter from the rain and take a nap when they feel tired.

But you won’t see Sivanh there too often because he prefers to sleep on his boat in the shade of big tree.

Even so, he goes to the hut every day before he begins a fishing trip and ends up there later so he can talk to his friends and sometimes share a meal.

When I met Sivanh Chanthavong, 35, he had just spent almost 24 hours on his boat on the Mekong, catching fish to sell in Huayxai district, Bokeo province. His boat may be small but to him it’s his home and his bed.

His two daughters often come to bring him some food and he returns home when he’s got enough fish to sell.

Sivanh gained a Diploma in Administration in Luang Prabang province but could not find a good job, so fishing has been his life for at least 10 years.

He has lived his life close to the river and learnt how to catch fish when he was small by spending time with his father.

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