Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Regional dams threat to fish

Regional dams threat to fish

Regional dams threat to fish

120824_02b

A boy holds a fish he caught yesterday in the Mekong River. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

Thirteen percent of more than 2,500 freshwater species of fish, crabs and plants profiled across the region are under threat of extinction, a report released on Wednesday says.

According to an International Union for Conservation of Nature study of freshwater biodiversity in the “Indo-Burma” region, which includes Cambodia, that figure could soar as hydro-electric dams are built.

“The development of hydropower dams throughout the Indo-Burma region is among the most crucial threats to aquatic biodiversity,” the Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in Indo-Burma says.

“These projects are changing fundamental hydrological and water quality conditions . . . of many rivers, completely altering aquatic habitats with little understanding of the impacts. . . on fish biodiversity.”

Environmental groups are concerned that projects such as the Xayaburi dam, a 1,285-hectare hydro dam proposed for the Mekong in northern Laos, could affect the livelihoods of Cambodians who depend on the river.

William Darwall, a spokesman for the IUCN Global Species Programs, said hydro dam construction could increase the percentage of threatened fish species from 19 to 28 per cent within a decade.

“There is still time for this . . . report to help large-scale developments . . . proceed in a sustainable way with reduced impacts,” Darwall said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shane Worrell at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen to ‘step down’ if he loses Sam Rainsy bet over Kem Sokha

    Hun Sen has promised to step down as prime minister while opposition figure Sam Rainsy pledges to turn himself in as forfeits if the long-term political rivals lose a “bet” over the future of former opposition leader Kem Sokha, who is on bail awaiting trial

  • ‘Historic’ Khmer Rouge tribunal Case 002/2 verdict to be delivered

    The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) are to deliver the verdict on Friday, in the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, in a pronouncement hailed as a “historic event for Cambodia and the world”. The verdict from

  • Record set for world’s longest dragon boat

    Cambodia broke the world record for the longest dragon boat – a title previously held by China, Guinness World Records adjudicator Pravin Patel said on Monday. He verified the record on the east bank of the Mekong river, in Prey Veng province’s Peamro district. “With

  • Analyst: Government appointments ‘a waste of national budget’

    The government has appointed over 200 officials as undersecretaries of state, secretaries of state, assistants and advisers at various institutions since October 1. While senior officials said the appointments were aimed at ensuring higher efficiency at the national level, social analysts said the practice is merely power-sharing