Modernizing irrigation for fisheries biodiversity and ecosystem services

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In the Lower Mekong Basin, expansive irrigation systems have disrupted aquatic habitats, notably obstructing fish migration essential for biodiversity, ecosystem health, and local food security. Despite a shift from expanding to modernizing these systems, current efforts rarely prioritize ecological considerations, largely due to a lack of intersectoral coordination. Engineering solutions, like fish ladders, have emerged as effective tools for restoring river connectivity and fish migration. For instance, successful fish ladder projects in Lao PDR and ongoing initiatives in Cambodia illustrate their potential benefits. Many countries in the Mekong region are beginning to incorporate fish migration considerations in their infrastructure policies. However, transitioning from policy to practice demands increased capacity-building, coordinated efforts, and stakeholder engagement. This brief highlights the need for adaptive management, underpinned by research, as essential for ensuring that infrastructure development remains ecologically sustainable and benefits communities reliant on fisheries.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBangkok, Thailand
PublisherFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Commissioning bodyAustralian Water Partnership
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameNext Generation Water Management Policy Briefs
PublisherFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


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