Mekong River Commission

  Khmer | Lao | Thai | Vietnamese | | Contact Us | Feed Back | FAQ | Site Map  

Fisheries Programme

The fisheries in the Lower Mekong Basin are immense, even by world standards. Recent studies have shown that the yield from the fisheries and aquaculture (including aquatic animals other than fish) averages around 2.5 million tonnes. The capture fishery yield from the Mekong is approximately 2% of the total world marine and freshwater capture fishery. From a fisheries perspective, the Mekong is not just another river. It is immensely important for the livelihoods of people of the Lower Mekong basin, particularly in terms of its vast fisheries resources. Joint management efforts by user communities and government agencies are required to protect and enhance the fisheries to ensure their availability for future generations.

The Mekong River Commission's Fisheries Programme concentrates on knowledge generation, raising the awareness of fisheries in the Mekong and improving fisheries management, particularly promoting community involvement in management processes. It also has a strong emphasis on implementation, uptake and impact of fisheries information into planning and development decisions in the basin.

The programme does research into capture fisheries, trains fisheries managers, promotes aquaculture of indigenous Mekong fish species and disseminates information to policy makers and planners in the four Lower Mekong countries. It is implemented through the national fisheries agency in each country to ensure a good alignment of the programme with national priorities and uptake of the results of the programme at a national level.

The goal of the Fisheries Programme is to achieve coordinated and sustainable development, utilisation, management and conservation of the fisheries of the Mekong Basin and to aid the MRC member countries in implementing sustainable fisheries management and development at local, national and regional levels.

The MRC Fisheries Programme has four components:

Programme Management and Communication

This component is responsible for programme management, and coordinates the delivery of fisheries information to target audiences. Under this component the MRC, riparian fisheries management organisations and fisheries sector stakeholders cooperate in information generation, capacity building and development of the inland fisheries resources of the Lower Mekong Basin. The component produces technical reports, development series reports, fisheries newsletters and films and Technical Advisory Body management briefs. It also hosts an annual technical symposium.

Fisheries Ecology, Valuation and Mitigation

The component is about the provision of information for fisheries sector management and planning, and the promotion of mitigation measures. Its objective is to ensure that the MRC, line agencies and the water management industry use the knowledge of fisheries ecology, valuation, and mitigation and management of environmental impacts that is needed for management of fisheries in the LMB. It monitors the fisheries trends/yields as well as collecting data on the size of fisheries production and the market value of fisheries so these statistics can be used by national agencies. The component studies economic value of fisheries in the Mekong and monitors the status of capture fisheries and aquaculture (including fish abundance, biodiversity and relative recruitment strength or larval abundance) on a regional scale.

Aquaculture of Indigenous Mekong Fish Species 2

The component focuses on the development of techniques for propagation of indigenous Mekong fish species for purposes of aquaculture and stocking of water bodies. It aims to assist line agencies, other relevant organisations and users to develop and implement indigenous Mekong fish species culture systems for aquaculture, stocking and mitigation. It plans to increase the number of indigenous species bred specifically for fisher farmers' use through continued development of breeding and husbandry techniques for selected species and using genetic techniques to identify stock differentiation within certain key species. It also facilitates information sharing between countries.

Within all components training and capacity development of national staff holds a priority position. This happens through on-the-job training, workshops and specialised courses as required.

Fisheries Management and Governance

This component's activities are centred on the development of improved technical and institutional measures for fisheries management. The component works to assist resource users, riparian fisheries, line agencies and other organisations to develop and implement improved institutional arrangements and technical measures for inland fisheries management. It has established long-term co-management ventures as well as national scale co-management activities in the four member countries and two regional scale co-management activities. The component organises implementation of a three-year work programme for the Technical Advisory Body for Fisheries Management (TAB). Work activities focus on coordination of trans-boundary activities in fisheries management.

Gender in fisheries
Women play an important role in the Mekong's fisheries and gender equity in fisheries is one of the key social issues addressed by the Fisheries Programme. Communicating information on gender-related issues and supporting gender networks are important in all aspects its work. There are some factors that still impede women's full access to benefits from natural resources and prevent them playing a full role in developing and strengthening management institutions. Nevertheless, women's participation in management decision-making is emerging, and the MRC is working to address women's practical and strategic concerns and priorities through support to the regional Network for Promotion of Gender in Fisheries and its national chapters.

The Fisheries Programme is funded by the Government of Denmark and the Government of Sweden.


Choose a newsletter: