WHERE WE WORK

River basins of the Greater Mekong region

The Greater Mekong comprises Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Yunnan Province of China. WLE Greater Mekong works in four regional, transboundary river basins: the Irrawaddy (China, India and Myanmar), the Mekong (Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam), the Salween (China, Myanmar and Thailand) and the Red River (China and Vietnam).

The Mekong is usually considered the world’s 12th longest river at 4,350 km.


 
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world's 12th longest river

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The Greater Mekong comprises Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Yunnan Province of China.


Second most diverse area on earth, after the Amazon

The Greater Mekong Sub-region (i.e. the area covered by all six Mekong countries) include 20,000 plant species, 430 mammals, 1,200 birds, 800 reptiles and amphibians and an estimated 850 fish species. In 2009, 145 new species were described from the Mekong Region, comprising 29 fish species previously unknown to science, two new bird species, ten reptiles, five mammals, 96 plants and six new amphibians. The Mekong Region contains 16 WWF Global 200 ecoregions, the greatest concentration of ecoregions in mainland Asia.

No other river is home to so many species of very large fish. The biggest include the giant river carp, which can grow up to 1.5 meters and weigh 70 kilograms;, the Mekong Freshwater Stingray, which can have a wingspan of up to 4.3 meters, the Giant Pangasius, Siamese Giant Carp and the Mekong Giant Catfish, all three of which can grow up to about 3 metres in length and weigh 300 kilograms.

The Mekong Basin contains the world’s largest inland fishery. It yields some 2 million metric tonnes (mt) of fish a year, and an additional 500,000 mt of so-called ‘other aquatic animals’ (frogs, snakes, snails, aquatic insects etc). These figures exclude aquaculture, and refer only to what is known as ‘the wild capture fishery’. An estimated 40 million rural people are involved in the wild capture fishery – two-thirds of the entire basin rural population.

Rural population involved in wild capture fishery

66%