Pollution, Overfishing Threaten Important Cambodian Lake
A rich fishery in Southeast Asia is at risk because of overfishing, pollution and hydroelectric dams.
The Tonle Sap is a freshwater lake in the middle of Cambodia. The lake shrinks and expands by thousands of kilometers, depending on the season.
The Tonle Sap is home to hundreds of kinds of fish. Fishing crews catch as much as 300,000 tons of fish in the lake every year. The fish are said to provide Cambodia with up to 60 percent of its protein needs.
But things are changing.
Luan Chanti fishes at the Tonle Sap.
"In the past, we would catch lots of fish using our nets, but now there are so many people fishing here that we are not catching much anymore. That means we are making much less fish paste than before."
Luan Chanti adds that the water level is always low now, and the water smells bad.
Too much fishing is reducing the number of fish, while fish spawning grounds are disappearing. In addition, dams are preventing the natural movement of some fish species.
Some Cambodians fear the problems could get worse.
Om Savath works for a coalition of non-governmental organizations known as the Fisheries Action Coalition Team.
"There are plans to build more dams up stream in Laos. In Cambodia, we already have a dam. We are worried the electric dams will effect the fish migration and reproduction rates. The dams have also slowed down the rate of water flowing into the lake, and affect the water quality in the Mekong River."
The Tonle Sap is dying. In 2016, several environmental groups named it the world's most threatened lake. There are fewer fish to feed Cambodians. At the same time, more people are depending on fishing to earn their living.
Government agencies say they are doing what they can. Om Savath says non-governmental organizations also are helping.
"We are continuing to work with the fishermen in the region to try to fix the problems. We have had many meetings with the parties. Just this morning, we filed out latest report with the Ministry of the Environment, and soon they will be discussing with us what we should do."
Some Cambodians fear that the lack of fish will cause a migration problem for the country in the future. They say thousands of people who earn money from the lake may move to the cities to look for work.
I'm Susan Shand.
1.hydroelectric dam 水电大坝
China already has two hydroelectric dam projects on the part of the waterway that flows through China.
2.in the future 未来
We expect better of you in the future.
3.water quality 水质
They also protect watercourses and maintain water quality by reducing sediment and filtering pollutants.
4.at risk 处于危险之中
This was not an academic exercise — soldiers 'lives were at risk.
5.The dams have also slowed down the rate of water flowing into the lake, and affect the water quality in the Mekong River."
slowed down 减缓；放慢
The car slowed down as they passed Customs.
He has slowed down a lot since his heart attack.
6.At the same time, more people are depending on fishing to earn their living.
At the same time 同时
I was afraid of her, but at the same time I really liked her.
It's impossible to get everybody together at the same time.
洞里萨湖是柬埔寨中部的淡水湖 。湖泊面积会随着季节的变化或缩小或扩大数千公里 。
洞里萨湖是数百种鱼类的家园 。每年，渔民在湖中捕捞的鱼高达30万吨 。据说这些鱼可以满足柬埔寨60%的蛋白质需求 。
“过去，我们用渔网可以捕获很多鱼，如今太多人在这里捕鱼，我们就没那么多鱼可捕了 。这意味着我们能做的鱼酱也随之减少 。”
过度捕捞导致鱼类数量锐减，而鱼的产卵地也正在消失 。另外，大坝也阻止了某些鱼类的迁徙 。
“老挝计划在河流上游修建更多的大坝 。而柬埔寨已经修建了大坝 。我们担心电力大坝会影响鱼类迁徙和繁殖率 。大坝也减缓了河水汇入湖泊的速度，影响了湄公河的水质 。”
洞里萨湖正在枯竭 。2016年，一些环境组织表示，洞里萨湖是世界最濒危的湖泊 。柬埔寨人吃的鱼越来越少 。同时，靠捕鱼为生的人却越来越多 。
政府机构表示，他们正竭尽全力 。温·萨瓦斯指出，非政府组织也纷纷献策献力 。
“我们仍在与该地区的渔民合力应对这些问题 。我们与各方多次举行了会议 。就在今早，我们与环境部门发布了最新的报告，不久我们将讨论相关事宜 。”
一些柬埔寨人担心，鱼类资源的匮乏将来会导致移民问题 。他们认为，成千上万依靠湖泊生存的人可能会迁往别的城市谋生 。