Lao fishermen, fish farmers and market traders are battling lower fish prices this rainy season as overall market supply has increased.Reservoir fishermen at the Nam Theun II hydropower project in Nakai district, Khammuan province are one of the fishing communities selling fish at the local markets.
The price of freshwater fish this season has dramatically decreased compared to the dry season, according to a project official.
The price of tilapia fish being sold at the reservoir port has dropped from 8,000-10,000 kip per kg to 5,000-6,000 kip per kg, from 12,000 kip to 9,000-10,000 kip for snakehead fish and from 10,000-12,000 kip to 5,000 kip for Pa Kaeng .
However, the price of fish sold in markets to consumers is always higher.
Tilapia is selling at the Km 20 market, Khamkeut district, Borikhamxay province for 15,000 kip per kg, while snakehead fish is selling for 20,000 kip and Pa Kaeng for 25,000-30,000 kip.
The most common fish species caught in the project’s reservoir include tilapia, snakehead fish, Pa Kaeng, Pa Lath, Pa Pak and Pa E-thai .
Most of the traders who come to buy the local catch at the Nam Theun II hydropower project are from Borikhamxay, Xieng Khuang and Savannakhet provinces.
The price of river fish often drops during this season as the overall catch has increased, especially in the Mekong River and its branches.
But the lower prices are good news for consumers with supplies of fish plentiful especially in central and southern provinces.
Fish prices usually increase between April and July as there are less river fish being traded in the markets.
Most of the fishermen are from the over 12,300 families of 16 village groups families who were resettled for construction of the project.
The fishing programme has helped families who were impacted by the project, generating extra income and aiding local development.
In 2014 the reservoir fishing catch sold through the port was about 96,000 tonnes; last year that increased to 111,000 tonnes.
While official figures for this year have yet to be compiled it is expected the local catch may decrease as the number of fisherman is falling as they shift to other jobs.
Mekong fisheries in Khong district, Champassak province, which is on e of the main river fish suppliers in the southern provinces, especially Pakxe market, are also struggling with similar issues but they receive good prices in the dry season.
Source: Vientiane Times