Village Fishermen Near Laos’ Don Sahong Dam Report Smaller Catches

Radio Free Asia –

Villagers near Don Sahong Dam, a major dam on the Mekong River in Laos, have reported smaller fish catches as it nears completion.

The dam, slated to conduct its final testing phase by early next month, will be operational by the end of the year.

Don Sahong is one of five planned Lao dams on the Mekong’s main stream, integral to Laos’ strategy of becoming Southeast Asia’s power-exporting “battery,” but many fear that Vientiane’s ambitious plan will have devastating environmental and social impacts.

Fishermen living near the dam told RFA’s Lao Service Monday that their catches have severely declined since construction began several years ago—an outcome predicted by critics of the landlocked Southeast Asian country’s dam-building spree.

“The Don Sahong Dam closed its gates to hold back water for power generation,” said a fisherman from Don Chom village in Champassak province’s Khong district, located downstream from the dam.

“That’s why there are no more fish now. It is too dry. It’s very difficult to catch fish right now. So the whole village stopped fishing and we are doing something else [to try to make a living,] the fisherman said.

Read more