Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fish lane built at Pursat dam

Fish lane built at Pursat dam

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The concrete ladder was constructed to provide a route for more than 100 fish species to swim past a four-metre-high barrier. MRC

Fish lane built at Pursat dam

A fish passage has been installed at Kbal Hong Dam in the Pursat River to aid the migration of 100 fish species, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the MRC said the livelihoods of many fishing villages have been hit due to river structures at Kbal Hong Dam.

People in Dun Ei village have been making a living through fishing along the Pursat River for generations, but in recent years river structures, such as dams and dykes, have been preventing fish from migrating upstream to their breeding grounds.

“For most of the year, fish have become scarce along the Pursat River, forcing villagers to leave their homes in search of work. Those left behind face difficult lives and an uncertain future,” the MRC said.

To address the problem, the MRC and the government partnered with the US Department of Interior and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research to install a fish passage.

The concrete ladder was constructed at Kbal Hong Dam in the Pursat River, a main tributary of Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia’s largest lake, to provide a route for more than 100 fish species to swim past the four-metre-high barrier, reopening around 100km of the river.

Horm Sovon, a 49-year-old fisherman in Dun Ei village, said: “Before, I could only catch fish three months per year. Now I am catching less fish than before, but there are fish to catch every day.

“I have a stable income now, and I am happy that other villagers both upstream and downstream are also able to catch fish.”

The MRC said the situation faced by the villagers in Dun Ei is typical of a wider problem affecting communities across the Mekong River Basin.

In the Lower Mekong Basin, fish catches are estimated at 2.3 million tonnes as the sector supports the livelihoods of more than 60 million people.

However, the fisheries sector is threatened by more and more dams, dykes, weirs, and other water structures that have been built to store water for irrigation.

“The Kbal Hong fish passage is a unique demonstration site that can be replicated elsewhere in the country or in the region,” deputy director of the Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute Tob Chann Aun said.

MRC secretariat CEO An Pich Hatda said the project highlights the importance of such work.

“This successful case implies that the construction of fish passages in the basin and some of its tributaries is essential.”

“Improving the management of fish will enhance the resilience of the entire ecosystem, benefit local economies and sustain local community livelihoods,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Historic Battambang town bans billboards

    The Battambang town administration informed all house and business owners in Svay Por commune to remove all billboards by August 1 as it is preparing to submit the town to UNESCO for inclusion on its historical cultural heritage list. Its July 25 notice said all signage was

  • All foreigners' accommodations to be inspected: Sar Kheng

    The Ministry of Interior is undertaking a serious effort to inspect all the accommodations of foreigners in Cambodia – except diplomats – in order to find and identify human traffickers. Minister Sar Kheng said this would include inspections on the homes of foreigners employed by businesses, private

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker