In numbers: Something’s fishy

By: Joana Tacken - Posted on: December 18, 2013 | Current Affairs

Human interference threatens livelihoods and food security across the region

By Joana Tacken

Stating that fish are a fixture of Southeast Asian life would be understating their importance to a huge degree. Our aquatic friends are everywhere. They are seen flapping about in ponds, drying out in the sun and being chopped up and added to many a main meal. Whole communities rely on the income generated by bringing in a good catch, while middlemen ramp up their prices when supplying high-end eateries with choice varieties of seafood. Fish is big business here.

Taking a look around the region, it is clear to see that Indonesia is way ahead of the pack in terms of total fishery production and the number of people involved in catching fish. This is perhaps not surprising given that the country has such a large population compared to other Asean nations. In terms of aquaculture, which includes the production of fish, crustaceans and molluscs, Vietnam is leading the way, with Indonesia trailing not far behind.

Growing populations and the continued destruction of natural habitats mean that many types of fish are being suffocated. Thousands of species are under threat and, again, Indonesia is at the top of the pile.


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