Mekong symposium participants.
The Mekong is home to almost 1,000 fish species. Credit: Thomas Pool
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, South East Asian Fisheries Development Centre The Mekong is one of the most unique and fascinating river systems in the world. It contains almost 1,000 fish species, which form a large proportion of the diet for almost 60 million people. The total capture fishery harvest is approximately 2 million tonnes, or 2% of the total global fisheries catch. The symposium focused on understanding knowledge gaps required to help managers deal with rapid riverine development issues currently threatening the productivity and sustainability of Lower Mekong River capture fisheries. River development will impact fisheries through connectivity, direct mortality, and habitat and flow regime changes associated with impounding. Many issues currently facing the Mekong have been dealt with by other countries for decades. Scientists from Australia, the United States, and Brazil shared experiences mitigating the impacts of hydropower and sustainable irrigation. Recent advances in technology were also explored, and innovative applications of acoustic telemetry, food-web mapping, fish physiology simulation, and GIS systems to track potential fish impacts were presented. Researchers from the Mekong shared results of ongoing fisheries research and identified important considerations for integrating current development projects into community co-management frameworks. The potential for future collaborative research was explored and an updated symposium is being planned at AFS 2017 in Tampa. — Lee Baumgartner, La Trobe University / Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, [email protected]
Read the symposium abstracts here