WWF-Laos and the Department of Livestock and Fisheries, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Savanakhet province on 14 Mar 2019 on Fishery community co-management in Xebanghieng river project.
This project is being delivered as part of the government’s overall plan to ensure that the fish and other natural aquatic resources of the Mekong River and its tributaries are managed sustainably.
The project directly targets 10 villages in Thapangthong, Songkhon and Phin districts in Savannakhet province, which have an estimated combined total population of 7,300 people.
The main objective of the project is to increase and improve the stock of aquatic resources through the establishment of fisheries co-management structures. This will ultimately support the improvement of local livelihoods. At the projects conclusion, the impact of the support will be assessed in order to provide knowledge for the improvement of future initiatives.
The activities and outcomes of the project include the demarcation of 10 possible fish zones and the establishment of 10 fishery management committees.
Vocational training, and practical assistance for community enterprises are an important part of the overall plan.
The Department of Agriculture states that the Mekong River and its tributaries are major food sources across the country. More than 78 percent of families are dependent on the rivers. The Mekong and its tributaries are home to an enormous amount of fish biodiversity and support some of the world’s largest freshwater species. Despite the Mekong’s abundance of species, the river faces ongoing threats from economic development. Changes to ecological systems mean the spawning grounds of many fish species are at risk of being disturbed or destroyed.
The Xebanghieng River project will conclude in September 2020.