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First wild capture fisheries project in Laos’ Mekong River basin reports results

Documenting fishing activity in Sang Thong District, Lao PDR

Documenting fishing activity in Sang Thong District, Lao PDR

The Julien’s golden carp (Probarbus jullieni) project sought to conserve rare fish in the Mekong Basin by developing standardized methods for monitoring population trends and by enhancing the capacity of local people to engage in conservation research and sustainable fisheries management. This project represents the first wild capture fisheries research project to take place in this area.

During the 3-month study at least 62 different species were recorded in fishermen’s catch. The researcher report several outcomes including : (1) Collecting important baseline data on juvenile and mature adult Julien’s golden carp (Probarbus jullieni), and other fish species; (2) Raising awareness about the need for fish conservation Increased local capacity for fish-catch monitoring, (3) establishing local commitment from fishermen to continue fish conservation and management work.

Based on conversations with local fishermen, there is great concern among the community regarding the lack of enforcement for illegal fishing gears (i.e., electro-fishing gear and dynamite), and the fisherment would like to establish a legal approach to conserving fishes and avoiding the use of such illegal gear.

The grant recipients report that fishermen were interested in designating a conservation zone. This is crucial because there are currently no fish conservation zones (FCZs) or fisheries management committees in the area of study. Yet, participants in the two villages expressed considerable interest in establishing a management committee and habitat conservation areas for fishes; both actions are allowed at the community level under Lao law.