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

  • Breaking: US House passes 'Cambodia Democracy Act'

    The US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, on Monday, passed the “HR 526 Cambodia Democracy Act”, also known as the Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019. If signed off by the president, the bill will allow two major sets of action to be taken against high-ranking Cambodian

  • ‘Zero-dollar’ tours under fire

    Minister of Tourism Thong Khon has blamed “zero-dollar” tour operators for the decrease in foreign tourists to Angkor Archaeological Park in the first half of this year and has called for action against them. Angkor Archaeological Park received 1.24 million foreign visitors in the first half

  • Breaking: Rubbish found packed inside 83 containers at S'ville port

    Eighty-three containers packed with rubbish were broken open at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port by joint authorities on Tuesday. The origin of the containers has yet to be ascertained, Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said. Pheaktra, who is also the ministry’s secretary of state, said

  • VIP prison scrapped amid much criticism

    The Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday that Cambodia’s first privately run prison, which was to allow prisoners with enough money to upgrade to more comfortable cells, has been scrapped. Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said studies had found that no other country in the