Understanding fish migration ecology is vital to preventing extinctions of key species; yet currently little is known regarding the migration patterns of delta-based species in both the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers. Up until now, it has been assumed that most Mekong fish spawn everywhere and that they don’t need to reach the ocean.
This study aims to investigate whether some Mekong and Irrawaddy species do need to migrate to the ocean. Pilot information has indicated that this is the case, but it needs to be validated on a larger scale. If consistent patterns emerge, then it will provide essential information to protect fisheries from hydropower dam developments and other barriers.
Much of the research work is being undertaken by PhD student Mr Vu Vi An, the recipient of an Australia Award. An is also a director with the Vietnamese Research Institute for Aquaculture, in Ho Chi Minh City. An and Lee are using a range of innovative approaches to determine spawning times and locations of ocean-dependent fish across the Lower Mekong Basin and Irrawaddy River basins.