TitleAssessing the impacts of climate change on snakehead fish value chains in the Lower Mekong Basin of Cambodia and Vietnam
Publication TypeMagazine Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsNavy, H, Minh, TH, Pomeroy, RS
MagazineWorld Aquaculture
Pagination53 - 55
Date Published2016

The productive Mekong fisheries are essential to the food security and nutrition of the 60 million people of the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB). Fish, from capture and culture, are a significant source of income and food security in Cambodia and Vietnam. Annual freshwater fish consumption in Cambodia and Vietnam ranges up to 40 kg/person, among the top three countries in the world. Fish contributes 81 percent of protein intake in Cambodia and 70 percent in Vietnam. In Cambodia, inland capture fisheries remain of primary importance in the fisheries sector, while aquaculture is more important in Vietnam. Snakehead is a popular and highly valued food fish in both countries, and are consumed in fresh and processed forms in the Lower Mekong Basin (Sinh et al. 2014). There are two species of snakehead murrel Channa striata and the giant snakehead Channa micropeltes. The combination of high fish biodiversity, high productivity, high exploitation rate, long distance migrations, and fish trade make protecting these fisheries and aquaculture of great importance. However, they are highly vulnerable to climate and non-climate (specifically water development such as hydropower dam development) related drivers of change. These include increased temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns; changes in the hydrological regime (water levels, duration of flooding, timing of flooding); changes in runoff or sediment load/movement; and increased instances of extreme weather events (storms, floods and droughts) (Keskinen et al. 2010, Hoanh et al. 2010, Vastila et al. 2010, Lauri et al. 2012). These drivers of change will be felt throughout the fish value chain and will pose significant challenges for fisheries and aquaculture production, food security and the nutrition and health of people, especially poor households, household income, livelihoods, markets and trade, and gender issues in the LMB of Cambodia and Vietnam. However, a complete understanding of the impacts of each individual driver and combination of drivers is only just beginning. Adaptation is needed urgently to address these impacts. It will be important to identify a suite of potential adaptation options for the various biophysical and technical conditions of capture and culture fisheries in the LMB. A study was undertaken in 2014 to examine the vulnerability, impacts and adaptation strategies to climate change as perceived by snakehead murrel value chain actors in the snakehead capture fisheries value chain but not the aquaculture value chain in Cambodia because of a ban on snakehead aquaculture that was only lifted by the government in April 2016. The important actors in the value chain of cultured snakehead in Vietnam were seed producers, farmers, traders and processors (Fig. 1). The important actors in the value chain of captured snakehead in Cambodia were fishers, traders and processors (Fig. 2).

Notice of Publication Number

NOP 16-A04 (English)