Vientiane Times, February 05, 2013
The management and sustainable use of fisheries and aquatic natural resources is being promoted in the Siphandone area in southern Laos, with initiatives underway in thirty villages in two districts of Champassak province.
A senior official associated with the project Mr Bounkeuth Khamphithuk said yesterday that it will be implemented from 2013 to 2015 in the target villages of Khong and Mounlapamok districts. It is a pilot project in the south of Laos, particularly in the area of Mahanathee Siphandon, which is the most important zone because it is a plentiful area in terms of fish and other aquatic species in the lower Mekong sub-region.
The project facilitators selected these areas because the level of the Mekong River is deep with a lot of rapids, as well as the forests of the many small islands, which are inundated during the wet season months.
The project is receiving more than US$580,000 in funding support from the German Government, with the project to be overseen by experts from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in collaboration with national and local authorities.
Mr Bounkeuth said the aim of the project is to preserve various diversities of aquatic life to help ensure sustainable resource use and balance in the aquatic eco-systems of the Lower Mekong sub-region in Laos.
The main activities at the start of the project are to consult with the local people in 30 target villages, and help promote an awareness of the importance of conservation of aquatic life to their ways of life.
It aims to promote the contribution of local people to the conservation of aquatic life, introducing ways to manage and use fish and aquatic life in more sustainable ways. Also, local people will participate in forming regulations to fit with the situation of every village, so they will be more likely to be respected. Mr Bounkeuth said the pilot project will take place in 17 villages in Khong district and 13 villages in Mounlapamok district, while a total of six management groups will be established.
“If we are successful, we will expand the project to new villages because doing so will help our country to ensure food security in the future and balance in the eco-systems,” Mr Bounkeuth said.
The Mekong River in the south of Laos, particularly in Khong and Mounlapamok districts of Champassak province, is wide and home of various kinds of aquatic life. The endangered fresh water dolphins also live in a deep pool close to Khonephapheng waterfall, and have been accidently snared in fishing nets before.