Threats to Tonle Sap Lake outlined at start of Mekong River Commission summit

Phnom Penh Post

SIEM REAP – A warning about the increasing threats to Tonle Sap lake, one of the world’s richest freshwater fisheries and a vital source of food for Cambodians, offered a sobering start to the third summit of the Mekong River Commission in Siem Reap on Monday.

Siem Reap Governor Khim Bun Song, in his opening remarks, focused heavily on the lake, which he said was vital to the Kingdom’s prosperity.

“The Tonle Sap Great Lake is recognized worldwide for being rich in fishery and biodiversity resources and it plays the important role, ecologically socially, economically and culturally for Cambodia,” he said.

The freshwater lake produces some 75 percent of the country’s protein, but depends on the annual flooding it receives from the Mekong River. The development of hydropower infrastructure, among other factors, so threatens the lake that some experts have warned of its impending doom.

In an appeal to the conference participants, Bun Song said, “We must work together to conserve the resources of the great Tonle Sap Lake.”

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