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Ministry working group to regulate Mekong fish migration

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
The working group is tasked with preventing fish migration to other countries. KT/Mai Vireak

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry has set up a technical working group to implement a project to facilitate fish migration in the lower Mekong basin.

The technical working group, composed of ten officials, was created in early November but was only announced last week. The group is aiming to prevent fish from migrating to neighbouring countries.

The group is tasked with holding discussions regarding the issue, monitoring fish migration, and evaluating environmental impacts of development projects.

Ministry undersecretary of state Khun Savoeun yesterday said the first agenda of the working group is to create ideal fish passages and prevent fish from migrating to neighbouring countries. In addition, the project will also aim to stabilise the fish population.

“In the past, our fishery officials were concerned about fish flowing to other countries. So we had to find a method to prevent fish from migrating,” Mr Savoeun said. “Through the construction of a ‘fish ladder’, we can hope that fish will swim towards the upper parts of a dam.”

“If we can provide good passage for fish, we can encourage reproduction,” he added. “In turn, we will have a large supply of fish to meet the needs of our people – and there will also be rare species of fish too.”

However, the working group has yet to determine where they will implement the fish passage project or how much the project will cost.

Mr Savoeun said the group is planning to meet later this year or early next year to discuss impact assessment and pros and cons of fish migration.

“Our project will be carried out at locations that have dams. The passage will need to be built at a tributary,” he added. “But the most important thing is determining which area we should build the passage in. We have to study the potential impacts and what are some of the benefits of fish migration.”

Loung Sothorn, owner of a hatchery in Kampong Cham province, said yesterday that she supports the idea of a fish passage, but noted that she doesn’t believe the project will prevent fish from migrating to other countries.

“I think it’s a good measure, but it may not completely prevent fish migration because there will be floods and increases in water level,” Ms Sothorn said. “In my opinion, they have to build a dam – or some sort of barrier – apply netting and prevent fish from migrating.”

She noted that the fish population has been larger than previous years due to efforts by the government.

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