Issues in Brief, No. 32, January 2017

Transboundary Threats in the Mekong Basin: Protecting a Crucial Fishery

By Irit Altman
January 2017 (8 Pages)
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In this Issues in Brief, Pardee Center Visiting Research Fellow Irit Altman looks at the impacts that dams in the upper Mekong River basin have on the critically important fishery in Cambodia’s Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. Altman explores how development of dams, in combination with a failure of regional governance, has threatened the ecological sustainability of the lake and its watershed, and the livelihoods of people in the region. She identifies strategies to enhance the resilience of the Tonle Sap fishery and improve the lives of people who are connected to this unique ecosystem.

Irit Altman is a Pardee Center Visiting Research Fellow and Research Assistant Professor of Biology at Boston University. A marine and freshwater ecologist, she works with an interdisciplinary research team to develop ecosystem models that integrate scientific knowledge and inform decision-making. She has extensive experience working with field experts and decision makers in Cambodia to understand system change and explore sustainability options in the Tonle Sap ecosystem.