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WWF, fisheries dept announce community co-management for aquatic reserves

World Wide Fund for Nature in Laos (WWF-Laos) in cooperation with the Department of Livestock and Fisheries on Wednesday announced community fishery co-management regulations for Xebanghieng River’s 10 fish reservations of Savannakhet province, focusing on protection of threatened aquatic species.
The announcement and official launch of the administration of 10 fish reservations in 10 targeted villages are under the ‘Fishery Community Co-Management in Xebanghieng River Project’.
WWF-Laos and the Department of Livestock and Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the project on March 14, 2019.
This project is as part of the government’s overall plan to ensure that fish and other natural aquatic resources of the Mekong River and its tributaries are managed sustainably.
The project directly targeted 10 villages in the three districts of Thapangthong, Songkhon and Phin in Savannakhet province, which have an estimated combined total population of 73,000 people.
The main objective of the project is to increase and improve the stock of aquatic resources through the establishment of fisheries co-management structures. This will ultimately support the improvement of local livelihoods. At the project’s conclusion, the impact of the support will be assessed to provide knowledge for the improvement of future initiatives.
The activities and outcomes of the project include the demarcation of 10 fish conservation zones, the establishment of 10 fishery management committees, vocational training, and practical assistance for community enterprises as an essential part of the overall plan.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Head of Savannakhet province’s Agriculture and Forestry Department, Mr Khamchanh Sidavong, said the project aimed to help locals to use aquatic resources in a sustainable system, especially protecting fish species in the Xebanghieng River.
“Villagers have participated in sharing concepts on regulations giving them more understanding about fishery management as well as adapting it to community conditions,” Mr Khamchanh added.
WWF-Laos Fisheries Project Coordinator in Savannakhet province, Mr Sinthone Phoumkhamouane explained the establishment of fish reservations intended to reduce ongoing extinction threats to aquatic species and continue habitat protection to increase the fish population. This would ensure villagers in the 10 targeted communities have a  sustainable supply of protein supporting the government’s food security strategy.
Mr Sinthone pointed out expanding fish numbers would also increase the richness of biodiversity and improve locals’ living conditions.
The Xebanghieng River project will conclude at the end of this year with support from the Darwin Initiative. This UK Government funding programme provides grants for projects working in developing countries with rich biodiversity.
Since 2006, WWF Laos has supported the government to establish more than 300 fish conservation reservations.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
September 11,

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