Fish Biodiversity Research in the Mekong Basin

  • Eric Baran
  • Nith Chum
  • Michio Fukushima
  • Taber Hand
  • Kent G. Hortle
  • Tuantong Jutagate
  • Bin Kang
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


The Mekong River is one of the great rivers of the world and is characterized by high fish biodiversity (Valbo-Jorgensen et al. 2009). The Mekong region is in fact a fish biodiversity hotspot whose richness is only now being revealed. During the last decade more than 279 new species of fish have been discovered in this basin alone (WWF 2009). An analysis of fish species present in 204 rivers worldwide recorded in FishBase ( (Fig. 1) and backed by a scientific study or publication. Baran (2010) recently showed that the Mekong River is the second richest river in the world for its fish diversity, after the Amazon River.


Transboundary Water Fish Resource Sluice Gate Conservation International Mekong River Commission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ahmed M, Hap N, Ly V, Tiongco M (1998) Socio-economic assessment of freshwater capture fisheries in Cambodia. Report on a household survey. Danish International Development Assistance and Mekong River Commission, Phnom PenhGoogle Scholar
  2. Anonymous (2006a) Documenting deep pools around the Great Lake in Cambodia. Catch Culture 12, 27. Mekong River Commission Secretariat, VientianeGoogle Scholar
  3. Anonymous (2006b) Cambodian river guards monitor six dolphin-conservation zones. Catch Culture 12: 4–6, Mekong River Commission Secretariat, VientianeGoogle Scholar
  4. Arthington AH, Lorenzen K, Pusey BJ, Abell R, Halls AS, Winemiller KO, Arrington DA, Baran E (2004) River fisheries: ecological bases for management and conservation, pp 21–60. In: Welcomme RL, Petr T (eds) Proceedings of the second international symposium on the management of large rivers for fisheries, vol 1. FAO, Bangkok, Thailand, 356 ppGoogle Scholar
  5. Baran E (2002) The importance of non-commercial fish. In: Safran P (ed) Fisheries and aquaculture: towards sustainable aquatic living resources management. UNESCO Encyclopaedia of Life Support Systems. EOLSS Publishers, Oxford, Chapter Scholar
  6. Baran E (2006) Fish migration triggers in the Lower Mekong Basin and other freshwater tropical systems. MRC Technical Paper no. 14, Mekong River Commission, Vientiane, Lao PDR, 56 ppGoogle Scholar
  7. Baran E (2010) Mekong fisheries and mainstream dams. Fisheries sections. In: ICEM 2010. Mekong River Commission Strategic Environmental Assessment of hydropower on the Mekong mainstream, International Centre for Environmental Management, Hanoi, 145 ppGoogle Scholar
  8. Baran E, Baird IG (2003) Approaches and tools for sustainable management of fish resources in the Mekong River Basin, pp 78–87. In: Cao M, Woods K, Hu H, Li L (eds) Biodiversity management and sustainable development, 246 pp. Lancang-Mekong River in the new millennium. China Forestry Publishing House, KunmingGoogle Scholar
  9. Baran E, Jantunen T (2004) Stakeholder consultation for Bayesian Decision Support Systems in environmental management, pp 331–341. In: Ahmad Izani Md. Ismail, Koh Hock Lye, Yahya Abu Hasan (eds) Proceedings of the regional conference on Ecological and Environmental Modeling (ECOMOD 2004), Universiti Sains Malaysia, PenangGoogle Scholar
  10. Baran E, Jantunen T (2005) BayFish—Tonle Sap: a Bayesian model of the fish production in the Tonle Sap Great Lake, Cambodia, pp 2312–2318. In: Zerger A, Argent RM (eds) MODSIM 2005 International congress on modeling and simulation. Modeling and Simulation Society of Australia and New ZealandGoogle Scholar
  11. Baran E, Myschowoda C (2009) Dams and fisheries in the Mekong Basin. Aquat Ecosyst Health Manag 12(3):227–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Baran E, Ponniah AG (2003) Freshwater resources conservation: an action-oriented overview, pp 400–415. In: CIP-UPWARD. Conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity: a sourcebook. International Potato Center—Users’ Perspectives with Agricultural Research and Development, vols 1–3. Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines, 675 ppGoogle Scholar
  13. Baran E, Van Zalinge N, Ngor Peng Bun (2001a) Floods, floodplains and fish production in the Mekong Basin: present and past trends, pp 920–932. In: Ahyaudin Ali, Che Salmah Md Rawi, Mashhor Mansor, Reiko Nakamura, Sundari Ramakrishna, Taej Mundkur (eds) Proceedings of the Second Asian Wetlands Symposium, 27–30 August 2001, 1116 pp. Penang, Malaysia. Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau PinangGoogle Scholar
  14. Baran E, Van Zalinge N, Ngor Peng Bun, Baird IG, Coates D (2001b). Fish resource and hydrobiological modelling approaches in the Mekong Basin, 62 pp. ICLARM, Penang and the Mekong River Commission Secretariat, Phnom PenhGoogle Scholar
  15. Baran E, Baird IG, Cans G (2005) Fisheries bioecology at the Khone Falls (Mekong River, Southern Laos). WorldFish Center, Phnom Penh, 84 ppGoogle Scholar
  16. Baran E, Jantunen T, Chheng P (2006) Developing a consultative Bayesian model for integrated management of aquatic resources: an inland coastal zone case study, pp 206–218 (chap. 16). In: Hoanh CT, Tuong TP, Gowing JW, Hardy B (eds) Environment and livelihoods in tropical coastal zones. Managing agriculture–fishery–aquaculture conflicts. CABI, Wallingford, 336 ppGoogle Scholar
  17. Baran E, Jantunen T, Chong CK (2007a) Values of inland fisheries in the Mekong River Basin. WorldFish Center, Phnom Penh, 76 ppGoogle Scholar
  18. Baran E, Starr P, Kura Y (2007b) Influence of built structures on Tonle Sap fisheries. Cambodia National Mekong Committee and WorldFish Center, Phnom Penh, 44 ppGoogle Scholar
  19. Baran E, Chheng P, Warry F, Toan VT, Hung HP, Hoanh CT (2010a) Aquatic resources and environmental variability in Bac Lieu Province (Southern Vietnam), pp 13–32. In: Hoanh CT, Szuster B, Kam SP, Ismail AM, Noble A (eds) Tropical deltas and coastal zones: food production, communities and environment at the land-water interface, 460 pp. CABI, WallingfordGoogle Scholar
  20. Baran E, Jantunen T, Chheng P, Hoanh CT (2010b) Integrated management of aquatic resources: a Bayesian approach to water control and trade-offs in Southern Vietnam, pp 133–142. In: Hoanh CT, Szuster B, Kam SP, Ismail AM, Noble A (eds) Tropical deltas and coastal zones: food production, communities and environment at the land-water interface, 460 pp. CABI, WallingfordGoogle Scholar
  21. Baran E, Larinier M, Ziv G, Marmulla G (2011) Review of the fish and fisheries aspects in the Feasibility Study and the Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed Xayaburi Dam on the Mekong mainstream. WWF Greater Mekong, Vientiane. FAO, Rome, 48 ppGoogle Scholar
  22. Barlow C, Baran E, Halls AS, Kshatriya M (2008) How much of the Mekong fish catch is at risk from mainstream dam development? Catch Culture 14(3): 16–21. Mekong River Commission Secretariat, VientianeGoogle Scholar
  23. Béné C, Friend RM (2009) Water, poverty and inland fisheries: lessons from Africa and Asia. Water Int 34(1):47–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Campana SE (2005) Otolith science entering the 21st century. Mar Freshw Res 56:485–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Chea T, Hortle KG (2006) Fish larvae during the dry season in the Tonle Sap River. MRC Conf Ser 6:283–288Google Scholar
  26. Chea T, Lek S, Thach P (2003) Fish larvae and juvenile drift at the confluence of four rivers near Phnom Penh: the Mekong upstream and downstream, the Tonle Sap and the Bassac River, June–September 2002. MRC Conf Ser 4:21–28Google Scholar
  27. Chheng P, Thang TB, Baran E, Vann Leng Sy (2005) Biological reviews of important Cambodian fish species, based on FishBase 2004, vol 1. WorldFish Center and Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute, Phnom Penh, p 127Google Scholar
  28. Coates D (2002) Inland capture fishery statistics of Southeast Asia: current status and information needs. RAP Publication No. 2002/11, 114 pp. FAO Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  29. Coates D, Ouch Poeu ,Ubolratana Suntornratana, Nguyen Thanh Tung, Sinthavong Viravong (2003) Biodiversity and fisheries in the Lower Mekong Basin. Mekong Development Series No. 2. Mekong River Commission, Phnom Penh, 30 ppGoogle Scholar
  30. Conservation International (2009) Agreement for dragon fish, wildlife and forest protection Thmar Doun Pao Commune, Thmar Bang District, Koh Kong province. Conservation International, Cambodia Program, Phnom PenhGoogle Scholar
  31. Conservation International (2008) Annual report of monitoring and evaluation project. Conservation International, Cambodia Program, Phnom PenhGoogle Scholar
  32. Dubeau P, Touch P, Sjorslev JG (2001) Estimating fish and aquatic animal productivity/yield per area in Kampong Tralach: an integrated approach. Cambodia fisheries technical paper series 3, Vientiane, Lao PDR, pp 143–164Google Scholar
  33. Dudgeon D (2000) The ecology of tropical Asian rivers and streams in relation to biodiversity conservation. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 31:239–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Dugan PJ, Barlow C, Agostinho AA, Baran E, Cada GF, Daquing C, Cowx IG, Ferguson JW, Jutagate T, Mallen-Cooper M, Marmulla G, Nestler J, Petrere M, Welcomme RL, Winemiller KO (2010) Fish migration, dams, and loss of ecosystem services in the Mekong basin. Ambio 39:344–348PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Emmett DA, Olsson A (eds) (2004) Biodiversity assessment of the Central Cardamom Protected Forest. Conservation International, Cambodia Program, Phnom PenhGoogle Scholar
  36. Friend RM, Arthur RI, Keskinen M (2009) Songs of the doomed: the continuing neglect of capture fisheries in hydropower development in the Mekong, pp 307–331. In: Molle F, Foran T, Käkönen M (eds) Contested waterscapes in the Mekong Region: hydropower, livelihoods and governance. Earthscan, London, 449 ppGoogle Scholar
  37. Gillanders BM (2005) Otolith chemistry to determine movements of diadromous and freshwater fish. Aquat Living Resour 18:291–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Halls AS, Arthur RI (2008) Guidelines for the routine collection of length-weight and length-frequency data, 47 pp. Mekong River Commission, Vientiane, WorldFish Center, Phnom PenhGoogle Scholar
  39. Hap N, Seng L, Chuenpagdee R (2006) Socioeconomics and livelihood values of the Tonle Sap Lake fisheries. Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute, Phnom Penh, p 24Google Scholar
  40. Hortle KG (2009a) Fishes of the Mekong: how many species are there? Catch Culture 15(2):4–12Google Scholar
  41. Hortle KG (2009b) Fisheries of the Mekong River basin. In: Campbell IC (ed) The Mekong: ­biophysical environment of an international river basin. Elsevier, Amsterdam, Chapter 9Google Scholar
  42. Hortle KG, Suntornratana U (2008) Socio-economics of the fisheries of the lower Songkhram River Basin, northeast Thailand. MRC Technical Paper 17, pp 1–85. Mekong River Commission, VientianeGoogle Scholar
  43. Hortle KG, Chea T, Bun R, Em S, Thach P (2005) Drift of fish juveniles and larvae and invertebrates over 24-hour periods in the Mekong River at Phnom Penh, Cambodia. MRC Conf Ser 5:19–34Google Scholar
  44. Hortle KG, Troeung R, Lieng S (2008) Yield of the wild fishery of rice fields in Battambang province, near the Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia. MRC Technical Paper 18, pp 1–62. Mekong River Commission, VientianeGoogle Scholar
  45. ICEM (2010) Mekong River Commission Strategic Environmental Assessment of hydropower on the Mekong mainstream. International Centre for Environmental Management, Hanoi, 145 ppGoogle Scholar
  46. Ingthamjitr S (2009) Recent developments in promoting the farming of indigenous species. Catch Culture 15:17–19Google Scholar
  47. Jutagate T, Lamkom T, Satapornwanit K, Naiwinit W, Petchuay C (2001) Fish species diversity and ichthyomass in Pak Mun Reservoir, Thailand, five years after impoundment. Asian Fish Sci 14:417–425Google Scholar
  48. Jutagate T, Krudpan C, Ngamsnae P, Lamkom T, Payooha K (2005) Changes in the fish catches during the trial of opening the sluice gates of a run-of-the-river reservoir in Thailand. Fish Manag Ecol 12:57–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Jutagate T, Thappanand T, Tabthipwan P (2007) Is the sluice gates’ management beneficial for spawning migration? The case of shark catfish (Helicophagus waandersii) in the Mun below Pak Mun Dam, Thailand. River Res Appl 23:87–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kang B, He D, Parrett L, Wang H, Hu W, Deng W, Wu Y (2009a) Fish and fisheries in the Upper Mekong: current assessment of the fish community, threats and conservation. Rev Fish Biol Fish 19:465–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kang B, Perrett L, Li Y, He D (2009b) Are the fish of the upper and lower Mekong interconnected? Chin J Oceanol Limnol 27(2):400–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kang B, Liu J, Hu W, Deng W (2009c) Fishes in Manwan, before and after Manwan dam construction on the Mekong mainstream. In: Li SC, Wang YJ, Cao FX, Huang P, Zhang Y (eds) Progress in Environmental Science and Technology, vol II, part A. Proceedings of the 2009 international symposium on environmental science and technology (Shanghai, China). Science Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  53. Khumsri M, Sriputinibondh N, Thongpun W (2006) Fisheries co-management in Lower Songkhram River Basin: problems and challenges. MRC Conf Ser 6:121–126Google Scholar
  54. Leng Sy Vann (2008) Conservation and Management of Kampong Preak fish sanctuary and flooded forest. Conservation International, Cambodia Program, Phnom PenhGoogle Scholar
  55. MRC (2003). Mekong Fish Database. Interactive CD. Mekong River Commission, VientianeGoogle Scholar
  56. MRC (2010) State of the Basin Report 2010. Mekong River Commission, VientianeGoogle Scholar
  57. Nguyen VH, Mai TTC, Pham BVT, Pham TBH, Sollows J, Davidson J (2006) Strengthening co-management of water resources for rice-shrimp farming in Soc Trang Province— Viet Nam. MRC Conf Ser 6:127–146Google Scholar
  58. Nguyen ND, Vu VA, Doan VT, Lam NC, Nguyen VP (2008) Monitoring of fish larvae in the Mekong and Bassac Rivers, Viet Nam, 2006. MRC Conf Ser 7:31–40Google Scholar
  59. Niphonkit N, Sriputinibondh N, Buttaprom W (2008) Co-management of reservoir fisheries in Huay Luang Reservoir, Udonthani, Thailand. MRC Conf Ser 7:93–98Google Scholar
  60. Phan TL, Pham MP, Visser T, Sjorslev JG, Hortle KG (2003) Inland fisheries activities and fish consumption in Tra Vinh Province, Viet Nam. MRC Conf Ser 4:127–139Google Scholar
  61. Poulsen AF, Ouch P, Viravong S, Suntornratana U, Nguyen TT (2002) Fish migrations of the Lower Mekong River Basin: implications for development planning and environmental management. MRC Technical Paper 8, 62 ppGoogle Scholar
  62. Poulsen AF, Hortle KG, Valbo-Jorgensen J, Chan S, Chhuon CK, Viravong S, Bouakhamvongsa K, Suntornratana U, Yoorong N, Nguyen TT, Tran BQ (2004) Distribution and ecology of some important riverine fish species of the Mekong River Basin. MRC Technical Paper no. 10, 116 ppGoogle Scholar
  63. Rainboth WJ (1996) Fishes of the Cambodian Mekong. FAO identification field guide for fishery purposes, 256 pp. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  64. Sangpradub N, Boonsoong B (2006) Identification of freshwater invertebrates of the Mekong River and its tributaries. Mekong River Commission, VientianeGoogle Scholar
  65. Sarkkula J, Baran E, Chheng P, Keskinen M, Koponen J, Kummu M (2005) Tonle Sap pulsing system and fisheries productivity, pp 29 (2): 1099–1102. Contribution to the XXIX International Congress of Limnology (SIL 2004) Lahti, FinlandGoogle Scholar
  66. Singhanouvong D, Phouthavongs K (2003) Fisheries baseline survey in Champasack Province, Southern Lao PDR. MRC Conf Ser 4:237–247Google Scholar
  67. Sjorslev JG (2000) Fisheries survey, Luangprabang province, Lao PDR. NAFRI and MRC Fisheries Program AMFC Component, VientianeGoogle Scholar
  68. Sjorslev JG (2002) An Giang fisheries survey. An Giang province—Viet Nam. Draft Report. RIA2, Department of Fisheries, An Giang, Fisheries Department, Can Tho University and MRC Fisheries Programme, VientianeGoogle Scholar
  69. Sorn S, Chey K, Sun Y, Kim C, Kheng S, Doung T (2009) Feasibility study on climate change in Tonle Sap Great Lake, Stong district, Kampong Thom province and Krokor district, Pursat province. Conservation International, Cambodia Program, Phnom PenhGoogle Scholar
  70. Suvarnaraksha A, Lek S, Lek-Ang S, Jutagate T (2011) The life history of the riverine cyprinid Henicorhynchus siamensis (Sauvage, 1881) in a small reservoir. J Appl Ichthyol 27:995–1000CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Thach P, Chea T, Hortle KG (2006) Drift of fish fry and larvae in five large tributaries of the Tonle Sap–Great Lake system in Cambodia. MRC Conf Ser 6:289–294Google Scholar
  72. Valbo-Jorgensen J, Coates D, Hortle KG (2009) Fish diversity in the Mekong River Basin, pp 161–196. In: Campbell IC (ed) The Mekong biophysical environment of an international river basin. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 432 ppGoogle Scholar
  73. Vann Leng Sy, Baran E, Phen C, Thang TB (2006) Biological reviews of important Cambodian fish species, based on FishBase 2004, vol 2. WorldFish Center and Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute, Phnom Penh, 130 ppGoogle Scholar
  74. Vidthayanon C (2008) Field guide to fishes of the Mekong Delta. Mekong River Commission, VientianeGoogle Scholar
  75. WWF (2009) First contact in the Greater Mekong—new species discoveries. World Wildlife Fund, Hanoi, 39 ppGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Baran
    • 1
  • Nith Chum
    • 2
  • Michio Fukushima
    • 3
  • Taber Hand
    • 2
  • Kent G. Hortle
    • 4
  • Tuantong Jutagate
    • 5
  • Bin Kang
    • 6
  1. 1.WorldFish CenterPhnom PenhCambodia
  2. 2.Conservation InternationalPhnom PenhCambodia
  3. 3.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.Mekong River Commission, Fisheries ProgrammeVientianeLaos
  5. 5.Department of Fisheries, Faculty of AgricultureUbon Ratchathani UniversityWarin ChamrabThailand
  6. 6.Asian International Rivers CenterYunnan UniversityKummingChina

Personalised recommendations