Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Laos dam looms over fish quota

Laos dam looms over fish quota

Laos dam looms over fish quota

Men look over a catch at a fish market near Kilometre 9 in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district on Tuesday.

A new government plan has set a goal for an annual 1.2 million tonnes of fish by 2019, but officials and environmentalist have said the construction of Xayaburi dam in Laos could stymie Mekong fisheries.

The plan would push fish exports to 500,000 tonnes of fish per year, generating an estimated US$1 billion in revenues, Nao Thouk, director general of fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, said.

Strengthened conservation would increase fishery output by 15 per cent a year, he added.

The plan, which will be formally announced on January 11, would also secure increased fish for domestic consumption. Cambodia currently produces about 500,000 tonnes of fish per year.

“We will cooperate with other NGOs to ensure [the success of] the plan, which will serve both local consumption and increase the national budget,” Nao Thouk said.

However, construction of the Xayaburi dam in Laos would jeopardise the plan. Cambodia, along with Vietnam, Thailand and other development partners, have asked that the $3.7 billion dam on the Mekong be postponed for 10 years due to the potential for the destruction of fisheries downstream, Nao Thouk said. Laotian authorities have yet to do a proper assessment of the dam’s impact on Cambodia.

“Laos has not conducted a study on the lower Mekong. They only did that at the site of development,” Nao Thouk said.

Laos said yesterday it would postpone construction on the dam, according to Bloomberg, but the length of the delay was not specified.

Xayaburi would cause lower water levels during the rainy season and higher levels during the dry season, something that could change the quality of the Mekong water, Om Savath, executive director of the Fisheries Action Coalition Team, said yesterday. “It will definitely have a serious impact on the output of fisheries,” he said.

Although crackdowns on illegal fishing had helped increase fish populations, the 1.2 million-tonne goal would most likely not be met, Om Savath said.

The more than 100 per cent increase needed to reach that goal was not feasible in the given time frame, he said.

Lov Heung, a fish exporter in Koh Thom district of Kandal province, said fish output had been noticeably increasing this year.

Exporters’ yields had also increased, Lov Heung claimed, but declined to say by how much.


  • Government denies claims former Thai PM Yingluck issued Cambodian passport

    Government officials on Thursday denied claims that a Cambodian passport was issued to former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who reportedly used it to register a company in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based English language South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Wednesday reported Hong Kong

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading