Impacts of Recent Environmental Changes on the Livelihood of Fishing Communities in the Tonle Sap Lake

Event: 17th World Lake Conference
Date: 16th October 2018 (Ibaraki, Japan)
Conference Proceeding

The Tonle Sap Lake (TSL) is among the most productive freshwater ecosystems, and one of the most fish-abundant lakes in the world. It is connected with the Mekong River by the Tonle Sap River. The TSL absorbs a huge volume of water, which helps to reduce flooding in the Mekong River floodplains during the peak flooding season, then releases water into the Mekong River during the dry season, which vital to maintain ecological flows and to prevent salt intrusion into the Mekong delta. Local communities who live in or around the TSL are well adapted to this hydrological phenomenon of the Mekong River and TSL. Local livelihoods are also deeply dependent on natural resources and services that the lake and its floodplains provide, including agriculture, trade and fishing, three most important livelihood sources. This study investigated impacts of and the recent environmental changes on the livelihoods of the fishing communities in and around the TSL. More specifically, the study intends: (i) to examine socio-economic and environmental changes occurred in and around the lake and its causes; (ii) to explore the impacts of these changes on the livelihoods of fishing communities; (iii) to identify the strategies that could enhance the resilience of the local communities and reduce their vulnerability.