Fish Passages in Luang Prabang Province

Fish Passages in Luang Prabang Province

January 2014


Aquatic resources are a vital source of food and income for many villagers in Laos. To ensure the sustainability of aquatic resources such as fish, shrimp and river algae use for food (Kai Phen), TABI has been working with villagers to establish village managed conservation areas, and form production groups to maximise the benefits to producers and fishers.

Fish conservation zones can lead to higher catches outside the zones and protect species at risk

While these resources have been used across Laos for generations sustainably, threats to this natural resource include reduced water quality from development and mining along the river bank and bed, over-harvesting of fish and other aquatic animals, and sedimentation due to inappropriate land use management and road building techniques. Another major threat for many species of fish vital for rural livelihoods is the blocking of migratory pathways through the building of dams and irrigation weirs. Obstructions along rivers and streams can severely limit the ability for migratory species to travel to natural spawning grounds, leading to decreases in fish catches throughout the river systems. 

TABI is currently investigating the feasibility of constructing fish passages around selected irrigation weirs in Luang Prabang Province. It is hoped that well designed and built fish passages, used in conjunction with effective village aquatic resource management and fish conservation zones can mitigate some of the impacts that the numerous planned dams and weirs are likely to cause. 


While large scale development activities will lead to some impacts on natural agro-biodiversity resources, interventions such as fish passages are intended to help protect and support the rich aquatic resources for both village consumption and income, and for biodiversity conservation into the future.