Mekong mystery: Dwindling fish

The New York Times

As we traveled down the Mekong River, I kept hearing variations of the same story: “There are fewer fish.”

Our guide in the Four Thousand Island region of Laos relayed that fishermen now work longer hours and catch fewer fish. At a fishing camp just below Khone Falls, at the border of Laos and Cambodia, a boat captain described how in his youth (three decades ago) they would regularly catch 30-pound fish at the base of the falls — a rare occurrence today.

He shared this story as we surveyed the days’ catch drying in the sun, consisting entirely of fish that would fit in just fine in my son’s aquarium back home. It’s not a big aquarium.

I also always asked the fishermen where the fish were coming from, and always heard the same answer: “They’re coming from Tonle Sap.”

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