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Traditional Fishing Gears in the Mekong River

Locals in the Mekong River basin whose life depends on the river are knowledgeable on fishing. Their local knowledge, which has been passed on through generations, is reflected on multiple kinds of traditional fishing gears. However, the changes of the riverine ecosystem and decreased fish population, caused by the large-scale development projects and commercial over-fishing, prompts the decline of traditional fishing gears. More and more traditional fishing gears have been abandoned and replaced by destructive gears. In many places, some of traditional fishing gears have been neglected—even none of fisher folks in fishing community is knowledgeable of the gears.

The decline of traditional fishing gears is the decline of valuable local knowledge.

Thai Baan Research, a research on local knowledge, has been conducted by SEARIN and its partners in four project sites on the Mekong river in Thailand . Apart form riverine ecosystem and socio-culture, the research also focuses on local knowledge on fish resource, through traditional fishing gears. It is found that different gear is created to catch different fish species. In order to use each kind of local fishing gear, fisher folks need know fish behavior, riverine ecosystem, season, water level, and natural environment. The use of traditional fishing gears is also dependent of social tie within fishing community, since some kind of fishing gears needs to be used in group, or used for social activity, not only for food or income. Thus, traditional fishing gears very well reflect the mentality and livelihoods of fisher folks in the Mekong Basin which is in harmony with ecosystem and play vital role in social relation.

Thai Baan Research finds that in Pak Mun area, where the Mun River fills the Mekong , there are almost 75 kinds of traditional fishing gears. The numbers of traditional fishing gears in different fishing communities on the Mekong are various; Chiang Kong-69, Song Karm River- 80, and Rasi Salai-48.

Traditional Fishing Gear Postcards

A Brochure of the Traditional Fishing Gears (pdf 200 Mb)


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