Mekong nations must act collectively to preserve Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake, its fisheries and the livelihoods that depend on them. If not, human-made problems of illegal fishing, hydropower dams and climate change will spell disaster for millions.
Long marginalised and stateless, ethnic Vietnamese fishers in Cambodia have once again been evicted from their floating dwellings on Phnom Penh waterways. Now, hundreds have tried to migrate to Vietnam, but amid the pandemic, they have been left adrift.
There were two sides to Kem Ley, the beloved Cambodian activist who was murdered five years ago: the calm, insightful public intellectual, and the hyperbolic nationalist who wanted to rid Cambodia of “illegal Vietnamese immigrants”, writes Tim Frewer.
Volunteer community patrollers along the Mekong in Cambodia aim to stop a rise in illegal electric fishing, which harms river ecosystems and livelihoods that rely on protected fisheries. But the sale of outlawed gear allows the dangerous practice to continue.
The seas off the coast of Makassar in South Sulawesi used to be filled with fish. In recent times, however, fishermen say the practice of sand dredging for reclamation projects has depleted fish stocks and caused families to go hungry.
In Sulawesi, two islands are home to the Mappanre Tasi ritual—a celebration of the sea which takes place at Islamic New Year. In recent times, the ritual has become increasingly under threat as conflicting fishing practices and religious fervour begin to endanger its spiritual premise.
Along West Java’s longest river, the Citarum, chemical pollution, siltation and agriculture waste have made the waterway one of the world’s dirtiest. Those working on its banks say efforts are being made to clean it up. But will they turn the tide?
In Sulawesi, the effects of climate change have become increasingly noticeable, but local communities are fighting back with a dose of community persistence.
Daily life on a small island in Sangihe District, a frontier district in Indonesia, demonstrates how local communities are responding to the effects of climate change, and how its impact varies with factors like age, gender, and socioeconomic class.
Cambodia’s Tonle Sap lake ecosystem has been strained by hydropower dams, drought and unprecedented forest fires. Now, surrounding flooded forests, people who rely on them, and the forests’ carbon-capturing potential face increasing threats.