VIETNAM - Fisheries in the Mekong River can bring in around $17 billion a year, making up about 3 per cent of the GDP of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, said the Mekong River Commission (MRC).
The figures were based on the report that 4.4 million tons of aquatic products are caught from the river every year.
The total value of the global fisheries was $130 billion in 2015 as reported, while the Mekong alone brought 13 per cent, reports VietnamNet.
The report shows Vietnam earns $5.74 billion from fisheries on the Mekong, or 3.1 per cent of the country’s GDP. Meanwhile, Thailand earns $6.72 billion, or 1.8 per cent of its GDP.
The role played by the Mekong in smaller economies proves to be even more important. Fishing and aquaculture brought $3 billion to Cambodia in 2015, or 18 per cent of the country’s GDP. As for Laos, the figures were $1.51 billion and 12.8 per cent, respectively.
In order to be able to continue exploiting the resources, scientists have agreed that it is necessary to take measures to postpone the construction of hydropower dams on the mainstream of Mekong.
If more and more dams are built, the livelihood of about 60 million people who live on the river would be in danger.
Climate change and saltwater intrusion caused by rise in sea water level are the other big threats to the Mekong.
Meanwhile, MRC itself is facing problems. The funds for the organization’s operation have shrunk because of disagreement among member countries.
Concerns about pressure from Laos has prompted MRC to think of removing its office from Vientiane to Phnom Penh.
Analysts said that the development of the aquaculture in the Mekong valley is three times more rapid than the growth rate around the globe.
It is expected that the fisheries on Mekong would bring the revenue of $5.8 billion in 2015.
In general, the fish output from aquaculture around the world is forecast to exceed the fishing output by 2023.
This not only would help re-orient the development of the fishery industry, but also help improve the lives of millions of people.
MRC once hired ICEM (International Center for Environmental Management) to conduct strategic environment assessment on Mekong mainstream.
The areas to be most affected by hydropower dams on Mekong upper course are Tonle Sap in Cambodia and Mekong River Delta in Vietnam.
TheFishSite News Desk