The vanishing catch: How women are suffering in the Mekong Delta

Fishing is what used to keep Nguyễn Thị Nga’s family afloat during the Mekong Delta’s flood season in the southern province of An Giang.

“We always filled buckets with fish, but now there are very few,” said the 44-year-old woman with a sigh. Money earned from selling the catch is “barely enough” to raise her three children and pay their tuition.

As climate change, upstream hydropower dams and intensive agriculture threaten traditional farming and fisheries in the Mekong Delta, women like Nga are struggling to find stable alternative livelihoods. Experts highlight their traditional gender roles and limited education and capital as hindrances to their ability to break free from a vicious cycle of vulnerability and precarity.

The rice fields in Nhơn Hội Commune, where Nga’s family live, used to be full of fish migrating from upstream during the flood season that lasts from September to November every year.

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Vân Nguyễn