April 19, 2013

Smells Fishy to Me...And No It’s Not Padek!

For being a landlocked country with no direct borders to an ocean or sea, Laos still holds its own when it comes to the number of fish species within its borders.  For example, in a report written by Maurice Kottelat in 2000 (see reference below) reported on 64 new species of fishes from Laos during his time of study.  At the time, it brought up the number of total species to 481.

Additionally, fish is widely consumed in Laos.  Anyone can go out on to the river or lake and fish to their own content.  Because the country does have so many waterways (the Mekong and its tributaries, rivers, lakes, etc.) and such a variety of fish, fisherman have long made their means through selling their catch on the market.  Fish sold in the market generally tends to be cheaper than red meat, making fish the more affordable option to get animal protein.  Many reports have indicated that the amount of fish caught seems to continue to dwindle with each subsequent year though.  To compensate for the lower numbers of wild-caught fish, there has been the proliferation of fish farms throughout Laos.  You’ll often see them along river streams or further inland there are large man-made ponds.

Have an interest in fishes from Laos?  Check out these books and videos noted below:

Lao book literature review - Fishes of Laos by Maurice KottelatLao book literature review - Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos by Alan Davidson

  • Title:  Fishes of Laos
    By:  Maurice Kottelat
    Publisher/Year:  WHT Publications, 2001 (University of California)
    ISBN:  9789559114253
    - Maurice did an incredible amount of fish research in Laos during the late 1990s.  Prior to publishing this more complete book, he wrote a research paper that was published in the Journal of South Asian Natural History (* see full reference below) in which he discusses the 64 new species that were discovered.
  • Article Title:  Diagnoses of a new genus and 64 new species of fishes from Laos (Teleostei:  Cyprinidai, Balitoridai, Bagridai, Syngnathidai, Chaudhuriidai and Tetraodontidai)
    By:  Maurice Khottelat
    Published in:  Journal of South Asian Natural History, June 2000, vol. 5, no. 1, pp.37-82
    Publisher/Year:  Wildlife Heritage Trust of Sri Lanka, 2000
    ISSN:  10220828
  • Title:  Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos
    By:  Alan Davidson
    Publisher/Years:  Prospect Books, 1975, 2003
    ISBN:  9780907325956
    - Approx. 206 pages.  Although this was originally intended to be a cookbook, there is lots of info on fishes in this book with plenty of pictures and drawings.  This is arguably the first widely distributed book ever written on fishes of Laos.
  • Title:  Community Fisheries in Lao PDR : a Survey of Techniques and Issues
    By:  Gordon Claridge, Thanongsi Sorangkhoun, Ian Baird, Sisomphone Hansai
    Publisher/Year:  IUCN, 1997
    ISBN:  2831704839
    - Approx 69 pages.  A great read for finding out the fishing techniques used in Laos and it comes with some drawings and pictures as well.
  • Videos:
    Water and Fish - From Perspective of Lao Villagers
    Fisheries in Lao PDR

Keywords:  animals in Laos, fish in Laos, aquatic life, aquatic species

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