As The Tonle Sap Dries Up, Villagers Worry About Dwindling Fish Catch


Come August, Pursat province’s Kampong Luong commune is usually flooded from the swelling Tonle Sap Lake. The waters fill the village’s dusty paths, with all activity conducted around seven meters above ground level.

This year, there are villagers selling groceries and other items on the ground level, the small dirt paths in the village are still dry and dusty. There has been no flooding this year, with water levels in the lake at a record low, according to the Mekong River Commission.

The dropping water levels have hit Thoeun Veun’s daily fish catch, which has reduced from eight kilograms a day last year to just around 500 grams a day. The Kampong Luong-based fisherman said the water levels were lower than last year, especially since it has been three months since the onset of the monsoon.

“There is little fish this year. Next year, it will be worse,” he said.

“Now it is August already, but it still dried up and dusty,” added the father of four children.

Thoeun Veun said the main reason fish catch is low was that the water levels were insufficient for fish eggs to hatch or for the hatchling to grow or mature.

Read more