Officials to meet on Mekong crisis as fishing communities suffer

Al Jazeera –

On Cambodia’s Tonle Sap, record low water levels have plunged fishing communities into crisis but with warnings of “severe drought”, there are concerns the situation will get even worse.

“Every day we can only find about one or two kilogrammes (two or four pounds) of fish, and you can see there are many people in the family,” fisherman Lay Non said, explaining that just last year their catch was still coming in at about 10 kilogrammes (22 pounds). “How can we feed everyone?”

While the catches have steadily declined over the past years, the 63-year old said, this year was worse than any year since he started as a fisherman when he was a teenager.

“It’s because the water level is lower than in the other years, and the fish only lay egg in the deep water – so the fish doesn’t get eggs here any more,” he said.

At their floating home in Chong Kneas village, Lay Non’s wife Seng Vun pulled out a small bag of rice to feed the seven people in her family.

“You see, this is all we have,” she said. “We are fishermen, but now we don’t even have fish and have almost nothing to eat,” she said.

Read more