Cambodia Considers Extending Fish-Pass Monitoring On Pursat River

Khmer Times

Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is considering plans to extend fish-pass monitoring to a third demonstration site on a major tributary of the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. Under the Lower Mekong Fish Passage Initiative with the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology and the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute (IFReDI) has already been monitoring two fish passes on irrigation barriers to fish migration on the Pursat River in western Cambodia.

One of the fish passes is located on the Kbal Hong Weir in Pursat town, almost 30 km upstream from where the river flows into the lake. Considered by the Mekong River Commission (MRC) as one of the most effective fish passes in the Mekong region, it was built under a Cambodian government partnership with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the US Department of the Interior and the MRC. The second, located about 20 km upstream from the provincial town, was built under a separate partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

A nine-member team from IFReDI – part of the Cambodian Fisheries Administration – has been monitoring fish at the two demonstration sites for a couple of years. Morning sampling at the Kbal Hong Weir when Catch and Culture – Environment visited in early November, for example, identified 16 species migrating upstream from the lake. These included slender horseface loaches (Acantopsis ioa), red-tail tinfoils (Barbonymus altus), silver barbs (Barbonymus gonionotus), red-tail loaches (Yasuhikotakia modesta) and skunk loaches (Yasuhikotakia morleti). In 2019, with funding for monitoring from the US Department of the Interior, IFReDI recorded 119 species using the fish pass.

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