How Is Damming The Low Mekong And Its Effect On Fish Migration

Improved Essays
Emily Harmsen, Steven Hong, Lauren Stork, and Juman AlAbdullatif
GS 130-Intro to Sustainability Minister | Fall 2016
Damming the Lower Mekong and its Effect on Fish Migration in Thailand
Dams have many purposes, such as storing water in order to combat fluctuations in river flow or demand for water, raising the water level so that the water can be directed to flow into a canal to generate electricity, control flooding, and provide water for agriculture, households and industries (Silvia, 1991). With an increase in demand for cleaner sources of energy, many countries have turned to damming as a solution. The Southeast Asian countries that the Mekong river flows through have recently become increasingly interested in damming the Mekong river.
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The damming boom along the Mekong River Basin was an idea that many countries in Southern Asia had with the intention to simply increase hydropower and income, but there are a plethora of unforeseen reactions that are brought forward with dams. An increase in the number of dams will only worsen the situation, and one of the major stakeholders would be the fish industry. Dams serve as a powerful stopping point for the migration of fish in the river. Though many fail to realize it, the dams will have such an immense impact on their migration that the problem will affect a majority of Thailand. A decline in the fish supply will directly cause changes in the industry. This would bring turmoil to all factors of the triple bottom line, environmentally, socially and economically. There would be discord in the ecosystems surrounding the water if the fish are not able to migrate or reproduce. Less fish in the water also means a smaller supply of fish to be sold for consumption. Seeing that this makes up a considerable portion of the Southeast asian diet, the population will have to make lifestyle changes to account for the lack of protein and other nutrients that were formerly found in that key part of their diet. Furthermore, fishermen will struggle to maintain a steady job, given the decline in the number of fish available. Others may be displaced due to the lack of resources for food or work. This will act on the economy, as well, because individual incomes and living situations will change. For these reasons, damming in the Mekong river has proven to impact the region

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