Mekong fishermen struggle to survive

As dawn breaks on the serene lake of Bình Thiên in An Giang Province, fisherman Đặng Hữu Đức instructs his 17-year-old son to cast a net into the clear water of the largest freshwater lake in Việt Nam’s Mekong Delta.

To his son’s disappointment, when the net is hauled back it doesn’t contain many fish, unlike during Đức’s childhood when he used to follow his father and grandfather.

“When I was small, fish were abundant here. I could have a few buckets of fish after catching for a short while,” said the 41-year-old.

“I am afraid there won’t be any fish left when my son becomes a fisherman,” added Đức, a third-generation fisherman from Nhơn Hội Commune, An Phú District. 

His fears are borne out by an investigation that analysed data on the fishery capture, employees working in fisheries and water levels provided by Việt Nam’s General Statistics Office (GSO), An Giang’s Department of Fisheries, and interviews with experts and local communities.

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