As an avid recreational fisherman, I am always eager to learn about the local fishing culture, especially where I live. I am delighted that I have had the opportunity to observe the skill that Cambodian fishermen display while fishing on the Mekong River. This opportunity also made me realize that I still have much to learn about fishing on the Mekong. In my short time living in Cambodia, I have met many people who directly and indirectly make their livelihood from the fishing industry. I’ve learned that 70% of the protein in the Cambodian diet comes from fish, and that most of this fish is provided by the bountiful waters of the Mekong.
The importance of the Mekong to Cambodia cannot be understated, especially when we know how vital it is to Cambodian food security. Because of this dependence, it reinforces my belief in the necessity to maintain a clean and sustainable river system, as well as my belief in the importance of the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI). One of the many programs under the LMI is Forecast Mekong. Forecast Mekong is a significant international thrust under the Delta Research and Global Observation Network (DRAGON) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and was launched in 2009 by the U.S. Department of State and the foreign ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam to enhance engagement with the countries of the Lower Mekong River Basin in the areas of environment, health, education, and infrastructure. The studies from this program, as well as others, will help us all understand the environmental impact on the river from industrial use and development.
What are some of the environmental impacts do think we may see with development along the Mekong River?
Cambodians who love and respect this precious resource have shown me the importance of fishing in the lives of the Cambodian people, but I would also like to hear from you about how fishing impacts your life.
Please share with me some of your favorite fishing stories. I hope to experience the richness of your local traditions, and to share with you, and with my family, the love and respect I have for the fishing culture.
And, from one fisherman to another, let me know where the best places in Cambodia are to find fish when I go fishing.