For more than half a century, January meant prime fishing season for Pang Bin. He took his wooden boat out into Cambodia’s largest lake, his catches and their sales sustaining his family for much of the year.
This month, the 75-year-old decided to call it quits, but not because of age or any health concerns.
“No fish,” he shrugged. “Just very, very poor. I’ve never seen a year like this.”
Across the Tonle Sap, a vast shallow lake in the heart of this Southeast Asian nation, fishermen are experiencing the least productive season in memory. Years of dam-building and droughts intensified by climate change have upset one of the world’s richest freshwater fisheries, carrying potentially severe consequences for millions who rely on the lake for survival.