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‘Lee traps’ no longer used for fishing in Khong district
Bamboo or Lee traps that depleted fish stocks in the Mekong river when they were used by fishermen have been banned in Khong district of Champassak province in southern Laos.
 The Environmental and Social Manager of Sahong hydropower plant, Mr Somphone Phommanivong, told Vientiane Times the ban covered all areas in the region.

 Some fishing tools that led to a rapid decrease in the fish population were also prohibited, such as net used to trap fish. “Catching fish with Lee traps in the past led to the extinction of fish stocks as it is a large tool that traps fish swimming along a channel where there is a strong flow of water,” he said.
Lee traps, which look like large bamboo baskets, were usually placed on riverbeds to trap the fish. They have been destroyed by incineration in Khong district.  An environmental and social survey conducted by the power plant found there are more than 200 types of fish in the Mekong river in Khong district. The Mekong is the largest river in Southeast Asia, and the twelfth largest in the world.
 More than 1,000 species of fish are believed to inhabit the river, including the endangered Mekong giant catfish. The Mekong basin supports about 60 million people and many types of fish are caught in the river.
The number of fish in the river within Khong district has not decreased and people now catch them using fishing nets or fishing rods. Thousands of tonnes of fish are caught in the Mekong river for domestic markets every year, a trade which is particularly synonymous with southern Laos. A woman from Donsahong village, Mrs Toukta Thepphachan, said villagers could catch fish using other tools that had replaced Lee traps.


By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
(Latest Update
December 4,

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