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The Mekong River feeds people. Millions of people.

It’s the food bowl of SE Asia, with highly-productive rice agriculture and one of the world’s most diverse freshwater fish faunas (2nd only to the Amazon River).

However, a thirst for hydropower is undermining the future of both rice and wild fish production – threatening food securing across the region.

When dams are built in rivers, they block fish movements. This means fish can’t access the habitats they need to breed, feed and rest.

The 2016 Lower Mekong Fish Passage Conference in Vientiane, Laos aimed to provide a platform for discussion around these complex issues.

The high-level, invite-only affair was hosted by the Laos Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and attended by researchers, managers and policy makers from 14 countries.

It was a productive meeting, which included a field trip to Pak Peung – the site of an Australian-supported fishway project. The fishway has passed over 170 species of freshwater fish and had dramatic local economic and social outcomes.

Tenure Chasers provided photography for the conference, including all sessions and the field trip, to support media outcomes for the event.