Evaluating spillover from Fish Conservation Zones to village fishing catches in the Nam Kading River

Project Leads: WWF, FISHBIO
Country: Lao PDR

Training the crewFish Conservation Zones (FCZs) are a community-based fishery management strategy that World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has implemented with government support in seven provinces of LAO PDR since 2006. FCZs function as year-round freshwater protected areas, and can be used to protect broodstock and spawning grounds for sustainable fisheries management and improved food security. WWF has established FCZs at more than 150 sites in the mainstream Mekong River and a number of its major tributaries by working closely with local communities to select locations and to agree on management regulations.

In April and May 2012, WWF, FISHBIO, government officers and community members initiated a spillover evaluation project for two FCZs near villages in the upper and lower parts of the Nam Kading River in Bolikhamxay Province, Lao PDR. Project participants captured a total of 1,000 fish (500 from each FCZ), marked them with floy tags, and released the fish inside the FCZs. Members of the Lao Women’s Unions are collecting data on fish recaptured by community fishers outside the FCZ. In addition to consultation with villagers, posters have been distributed near fishing areas to encourage fishers to participate in the study. Village fishers have been instructed to note details about the capture of tagged fishes, and a small reward of 3,000 kip is provided for returned tags.

The goals of this spillover evaluation project are to assess the impact of FCZs on fish populations and fisher livelihoods by quantifying the emigration of fishes from the FCZs. This will help evaluate the effectiveness of the FCZs in augmenting fish harvests, and will improve fisheries co-management by strengthening local technical capacity for conservation activities. This project is a component of the WWF-Laos Greater Mekong program and is project is strongly supported by the national Department of Livestock and Fisheries (DLF) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) of Lao PDR.

View additional photos of this project on Flickr. Download the final project report.