Siamese Mud Carp and Hydroelectric Dams in the Mekong River Basin (Various Studies)

From: Potential Effects of Hydroelectric Dam Development in the Mekong River Basin on the Migration of Siamese Mud Carp (Henicorhynchus siamensis and H. lobatus) Elucidated by Otolith Microchemistry by Michio Fukushima, Tuantong Jutagate, Chaiwut Grudpan, Pisit Phomikong, Seiichi Nohara, 6 August 2014

quote1Of the vast multitude of fish species in the Mekong River, two closely-related species, Henicorhynchus siamensis and H. lobatus, are of special concern given the rapid rate of hydropower development. Inhabiting the Mekong and Chao Phraya basins (H. siamensis) and the Mekong basin (H. lobatus), these two small-sized cyprinids, collectively referred to as Siamese mud carp, are the most abundant and most economically important fish in the middle and lower Mekong basin. They are harvested in huge numbers, especially in and around Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia and the Khone Falls area in southern Laos. These species account for 43% and over 50% of the total catch in these areas, respectively, with an overall basin-wide catch being >12% for the two species combined.

quote1The Siamese mud carp populations in the Mekong, or at least some of them, are known to perform long-distance migrations. However, what is known about their migrations is severely limited. In Thailand and Laos, the species undertake upstream migration in the early rainy season above the Khone Falls, whereas in Cambodia, this species migrate upstream at the onset of the dry season below the waterfalls. The latter migrants possibly originate from the Tonle Sap Lake, first descending the Tonle Sap River and then ascending the Mekong mainstream toward and even past the Khone Falls . Spawning takes place in tributaries or floodplains during the wet season, with a peak in May-June. Eggs and larvae are carried to nursery habitats on the floodplain by the water current. At the beginning of the dry season, juveniles move out of the floodplains with the receding water and seek dry season refuge habitats such as deep pools in the Mekong mainstream.

From: Population subdivision in Siamese mud carp Henicorhynchus siamensis in the Mekong River basin: implications for management. Adamson EA1, Hurwood DA, Baker AM, Mather PB. 2009

quote1A molecular approach was employed to investigate stock structure in Siamese mud carp Henicorhynchus siamensis populations collected from 14 sites across mainland south-east Asia, with the major focus being the lower Mekong River basin. Spatial analysis of a mitochondrial DNA fragment (ATPase 6 and 8) identified four stocks in the Mekong River basin that were all significantly differentiated from a population in the nearby Khlong River, Thailand. In the Mekong River basin, populations in northern Lao People’s Democratic Republic and northern Thailand represent two independent stocks, and samples from Thai tributaries group with those from adjacent Mekong sites above the Khone Falls to form a third stock. All sites below the Khone Falls constituted a single vast stock that includes Cambodia and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. While H. siamensis is considered currently to undertake extensive annual migrations across the Mekong River basin, the data presented here suggest that natural gene flow may occur over much more restricted geographical scales within the basin, and hence populations may need to be managed at finer spatial scales than at the whole-of-drainage-basin level.

From: ‘The migration pattern of Trey Riel, Henicorhynchus siamensis, in the Mekong mainstream’ Chan Sokheng, 2000?

quote1Below the Khone Falls, H. siamensis migrates upstream from November to February, whereas above the Khone Falls, it migrates upstream from March to September. It migrates in response to changing water levels. As floodwaters recede H. siamensis migrates from the flooded areas back to main river channels, e.g. the Mekong mainstream. Several fishers below the Khone Falls reported that the peak period of upstream migration for H. siamensis occurs one week before the full moon. Above the Khone Falls, migrations appear to be less influenced by the lunar phase. Some fishers along the stretch from Kratie to the Khone Falls in Cambodia were able to determine the speed of migration based on the time it takes for the fish to move between two villages along the river. They estimated the speed at 16 km per day… Below the Khone Falls, H. siamensis migrates downstream from May to September when the water levels start to rise. This corresponds with the peak time for observations of eggs in the fish, i.e. the peak spawning period is believed to occur between May to June.

quote1Migration is usually linked to changes in the water levels. When water levels start to rise during the flooding season, fish migrate from the Mekong mainstream to canals and flooded areas. Near the end of flooding season fish migrate back to the larger rivers. In the Mekong mainstream upstream migrations occur from November to February and downstream migrations from May to September (below Khone falls). The patterns of migration described below the Khone Falls differ from observations made in northern Lao and Thailand, where migrations take place from November to February. This could indicate that a different sub-population is involved in that section of the river. It should be noted that fishers catch this species all year round.

2015-08-15 16_08_52-www.mekonginfo.org_assets_midocs_0001336-biota-the-migration-pattern-of-trey-rie


From: ‘Life history of the riverine cyprinid Henicorhynchus siamensis (Sauvage, 1881) in a small reservoir’ by A. Suvarnaraksha, S. Lek, S. Lek-Ang and T. Jutagate. Journal of Applied Ichthyology, August, 2011

quote1Fish of the genus Henicorhynchus are small migratory cyprinids and one of the most important groups in the Lower Mekong Basin and Chaophraya River basin fisheries, especially the Siamese mud carp Henicorhynchus siamensis (Sauvage, 1881). This fish is a common catch whereby in thebasin area four sub-populations were recently identified (Adamson et al., 2009). H. siamensis is also the main fish catch produced by the commercial bag-net fisheries in Tonle Sap, Cambodia, where it constitutes more than 60% of the catch and accounts for almost 10% of the total value generated (Deap et al., 1998). Moreover, H. siamensis is ranked as the top species commonly consumed by Cambodians. These advantages play a crucial role as the most important animal food for the poor (Kent, 1997) and also fulfill a role as a dietary source of vitamins and minerals (Rooset al., 2007). The importance of this fish is also acknowledged in the Cambodian currency, the ÔrielÕ, which is named after the Cambodian common name for H. siamensis of “trey riel” (Volbo-Jørgensen and Poulsen, 2000).

quote1H. siamensis is also well known for its migratory habit oflateral migration into the floodplains during the flood season and then returning to the rivers when the flood waters begin torecede (Rainboth, 1996). But it is also known not to prosper inimpoundments (Lamberts, 2001; Chheng et al., 2004), as itslife cycle depends on the river ⁄ flood regime. However, H. siamensis can successfully inhabit man-made lakes in Thailand as well as in the Lao PDR, and is among the candidates for a fish stock enhancement program to increase fish production in inland water bodies in the region (Jutagate 2009). Knowledge of the life cycles of many important SoutheastAsia freshwater fish species is still very fragmentary, especially when they inhabit an uncommon environment (Volbo-Jørgen-sen and Poulsen, 2000). Given the importance of H. siamensis to fisheries in many parts of major Southeast Asian rivers, this study aimed to investigate the key facets of the H. siamensis life history (Froese et al., 2000), i.e. reproduction, feeding and growth. A goal was to see whether this small cyprinid could flourish and support a small-scale artisanal fishery in a reservoir and to evaluate its potential as a source of protein and micronutrients as well as income for the local people in the vicinity of the reservoir.


Japan,Thailand and Myanmar Sign Memorandum of Intent for Dawei Project


Japan, Thailand and Myanmar have signed a memorandum of intent for the joint development of the long-delayed Dawei project in southeastern Myanmar.

The document was signed on the sidelines of the Japan-Mekong Summit in Tokyo.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said the project will become a new distribution hub for the world.

“The cooperation between the three countries on Dawei will be the world’s new economic gate linking the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. This will be major opportunity for Japan’s private sectors with Thailand’s support as manufacturing base, as a connecting point and as a product distribution centre to the region. With this, we reaffirm that Thailand will do its best to look after Japanese investment’s best interests.”

The project has been stalled for years largely due to the Italian Thai Development (ITD), which had failed to secure private investment and agree on a power source for the complex.

via Japan,Thailand and Myanmar Sign Memorandum of Intent for Dawei Project.

Japan mulls to boost medical exports to 5 Mekong countries – Xinhua |

TOKYO, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) — Japan is mulling to boost its medical-related exports to five Mekong-bound countries in Southeast Asia by setting up a task force involving public and private sectors later this week, according to local media on Monday.

The task force aims at accelerating Japan\’s exports on its advanced medical technologies such as facilities and medical insurance system to Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos, reported Japan\’s Kyodo News.

The move is a part of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe\’s growth strategy and the country plans to sign a memorandum of understanding on expanding medical cooperation with the Mekong countries in a summit commemorating the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Tokyo next month, said the report, citing government officials.

via Japan mulls to boost medical exports to 5 Mekong countries – Xinhua |

Kachin girls fall easy prey on the China-Myanmar border | Bangkok Post

JE YANG CAMP – A 17-year-old Kachin girl was locked in a room for three weeks while a Chinese couple tried to sell her as a “temporary wife” to the highest bidder.

“I cried all the time, but they just told me I had to marry the man they chose for me and that I would never go back home again,” said Seng Pan, recently returned to Je Yang refugee camp from her ordeal across the border in Yunnan, China.

“Some men offered 20,000 Chinese yuan (3,200 United States dollars) to 30,000 yuan for me, but the couple wanted to get at least 50,000 yuan,” she said.

Seng Pan was lucky her captors were so greedy. One day when the couple left the house she managed to break out of her room and call authorities at Je Yang to inform them of her plight.

Camp officials alerted Chinese police.

“The police sent an undercover agent to pretend he wanted to buy me, and then then arrested the couple for human trafficking,” she said. “They sent me back to the camp.”

Since June 2011, when fighting broke out between the Myanmar military and the rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA), an estimated 140,000 civilians in the northern state have been displaced and forced to live in refugee camps, many of them situated along the Chinese border.

Many women in the camps have been forced to seek work in China to support their families, making them vulnerable to abuses.

“Human trafficking is common in the Kachin state, especially in refugee camps near the boarder,” said Khon Ja, a woman leader from the non-governmental Kachin Peace Network.

After a 17-year ceasefire with the government fell apart more than two years ago, the Kachin state has been divided into areas under state control and those under the control of the ethnic rebels.

According to government figures, there are nearly 43,000 displaced people living in 106 camps under state control, and more than 80,000 living in KIA-controlled camps.

via Kachin girls fall easy prey on the China-Myanmar border | Bangkok Post: breakingnews.

Meth Seizures on the Rise in East and Southeast Asia, Says UNODC – Southeast Asia Real Time – WSJ

BANGKOK – Seizures of methamphetamines and meth-related arrests in Asia reached record highs in 2012, according to a new report, but the news is likely a sign that despite a crackdown by drug enforcement agencies, some drugs are still readily available and others are becoming more so.

A total of 227 million meth pills were seized in East and Southeast Asia in 2012, according to a report released on Friday by the United Nations’ Office of Drugs and Crime, or UNODC. The staggering number represents a 59% surge from 2011, and a more than seven-fold increase since 2008.

Meth pill seizures in 2012 were almost exclusively from countries in the Greater Mekong sub-region, led by China, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos, respectively, according to the report.

via Meth Seizures on the Rise in East and Southeast Asia, Says UNODC – Southeast Asia Real Time – WSJ.

Firms urged to tap growing middle-class market in GMS – The Nation

Bangkok Bank has urged Thai businesses to have a more active role in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) in terms of trading activities and investment, in order to tap the growing middle-class market in those countries.

Speaking at the bank’s “Trade Logistics in Greater Mekong Sub-region: GMS” seminar yesterday, executive vice president Kobsak Pootrakool said the high level of gross-domestic-product growth in emerging GMS countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar presented a great opportunity for Thai enterprises.

Cambodia has annual GDP growth of 7 per cent, while Laos’ economy is expanding by 8 per cent and Myanmar\’s by 7 per cent, he said. He said that growth in the emerging economies of the GMS, which have a combined population of around 150 million, had led to a rising number of middle-class consumers and demand for electronic gadgets and new-technology products.

“Thailand has expertise in producing those products and people in the GMS prefer buying products from Thailand, as they have confidence in our products,” said Kobsak. Thai apparel, furniture, rubber and processed products are all in high demand in GMS countries, and especially in Myanmar, he added.

via Firms urged to tap growing middle-class market in GMS – The Nation.

Burma’s Last Timber Elephants – 101 East – Al Jazeera English

Myanmar has around 5,000 elephants living in captivity – more than any other Asian country. More than half of them belong to a single government logging agency, the Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE). Elephants are chosen over machines because they do the least damage to the forest.

These elephants have survived ancient wars, colonialism and World War II while hard woods extracted by elephants in Myanmar once fed the British naval fleet. Yet today, Myanmar\’s timber elephant is under threat.

Once the richest reservoir for biodiversity in Asia, Myanmar\’s forest cover is steadily depleting and the government blames it on illegal loggers.

Now, the forest policy is being overhauled.

The Ministry for Environmental Conservation and Forestry has pledged to reduce its logging by more than 80,000 tonnes this fiscal year. Myanmar will ban raw teak and timber exports by April 1, 2014, allowing only export of high-end finished timber products.

MTE says that the private elephant owners contracted by the government will be the first on the chopping block. Saw Moo, a second generation private elephant owner, sees a bleak future for his stable of 20 elephants. He fears the family business will end in his hands and he may have to sell his elephants, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

via Burma’s Last Timber Elephants – 101 East – Al Jazeera English.