LookAtVietnam – Aquatic products output from the Mekong River will be halved to 200,000 tons a year in the coming time due to the impacts of climate change . . .
The 4,900-kilometer river flowing through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam currently supplies over 400,000 tons of fishery products a year. However, upstream countries are developing 19 dams serving their economic development, said Nguyen Ngoc Anh, head of the Southern Irrigation Planning Institute.
Anh told reporters in an informal meeting last week that in China alone an eight-dam cascade was already underway in the upper reaches of the Mekong. International Rivers, an organization which protects rivers and defends the rights of communities dependent on them, says on its website that two of the eight dams have been completed and three are under construction.
The Mekong Delta will find itself in the dilemma of rising sea levels caused by climate change and depleting fresh water from upstream.
The ecological catastrophe will surely result in the dying out of rare fish like the Irrawaddy dolphin and giant catfish of the Mekong River, thus draining fishery resources of the river by half.
The falling of aquatic resources also rings alarm bells for rice-growing and other agricultural activities, including fish farming, of the whole region, he said.
Anh cited that while one hectare of paddy field needed about 10,000 cubic meters of fresh water, a hectare of shrimp farm needed a ten-fold water supply.
Envisioning the threat, the six countries drinking from the same river, backed by the Asian Development Bank, have kicked off the economic cooperation of the expanded Greater Mekong Sub-region, which also focuses on cooperation in energy and agriculture.
More than 60 million people rely on the Mekong, known as the Lancang in China, and its tributaries for food, water, transport and other aspects of life, according to International Rivers, and “the river supports one of the world’s most diverse fisheries, second only to Brazil’s Amazon River.”