|Baird, Ian G. Roberts, Tyson R.
|Traditional fisheries and fish ecology on the Mekong River at Khone Waterfalls in Southern Laos
|Natural History Bulletin of the Siam Society
Khone (pronounced "Kawn") Falls is the site of one of the most important wildcapture riverine fisheries in tropical Asia. Khone villagers have been fishing the area for generations, and have inherited or developed an out standing array of artisanal fishing devices based on intimate knowledge of migratory, feeding and other behavior of numerous fish species. Their traditional fisheries management system is also highly developed. Khone fishing people are confronted by the decline of many species, especially of strongly migratory ones which are the main basis for the fisheries.
The small cyprinid fish Cirrhinus lobatus is an ecological keystone species. It is the most abundant fish species in the Khone Falls area, and is usually the first species to migrate upstream in the December-February non-reproductive migratory period. Data on migratory C. lobatus during the June-July reproductive migratory period indicate that the species is a progynous hermaphrodite. Another important cyprinid is the large species Probarbus jullieni, caught mainly in November-January when it is migrating to spawning sites or is actually engaged in spawning activity. The history of the Probarbus fisheries in southern Laos indicates that a long term decline started around 1970, with the introduction of nylon gillnets, and that it increased rapidly after 1991 when markets opened up and fisheries became increasingly capitalized and modernized. Important catfishes include Pangasius macronema and P. krempfi Pangasius macronema is the object of an unusual communal fisheries practiced by the village of Ban Hang Sadam. Pangasius krempfi is a diadromous species, spending much of its life in coastal waters of the South China Sea, but returning to the Mekong River to spawn.