Cambodia’s Great Lake – the Tonle Sap – is in trouble. The lake and its residents face the converging impacts of global climate change, upstream hydropower dams, and illegal fishing abetted by government corruption. All have combined to threaten the lake’s nourishing flood-pulse, which for centuries has sustained the world’s largest inland fishery and provided Cambodians with their primary source of protein.
In a new book, “Troubling the Water: A Dying Lake and a Vanishing World in Cambodia,” based on years of reporting around the Tonle Sap, writer and journalist Abby Seiff examines the “perfect storm” of challenges facing the lake and those that dwell on and around its waters. She spoke with The Diplomat about the unique ecology of the Great Lake and whether there is any hope of its long-term survival.