Amid Drought and Flooding, Cambodian Fish Catches, Exports Fall Precipitously

Floods follow drought as dams, climate change and illegal fishing take their toll on Southeast Asia’s mighty river.

For two decades, scientists and environmentalists have warned that fish stocks in the Lower Mekong River were at risk from a cluster of factors including overfishing and use of illegal nets, massive dam construction in Laos and China, and the effects of climate change.

And now the numbers appear to support those warnings, with Cambodian fish exports for the first nine months of the year slumping 84 percent year-on-year, while fish catches are down about 70 percent over the same period.

Numbers obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture and published by Voice of Democracy (VOD) show that fresh fish exports fell from 5,502 tons to just 1,498 tons, as the export of processed fish products fell precipitously, from 5,000 tons to just 232 tons.

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