Research Reports

Participatory Community Management of Natural Aquatic Resources in Nalae district, Laung Namtha province

In Nalea district, where people heavily depend upon Namtha River and its tributary fish stocks for their livelihoods, increasing pressures from human exploitation and habitat disturbance, however, have raised serious concerns about the potential depletion of fish population and species. This has led to have a study question: how to manage this resource in sustainable way, and is it the establishment of Fish Conservation Zones (FCZs) or “no-take” fish sanctuaries with community-based fisheries co-management can overcome this issue? The study on participatory planning for community-based aquatic resources management was carried out in three villages: Hat Lom, Lao and Phou Chalae villages in Nalae district, Luang Namtha province during 2009-2010. The main aim of this study was to develop a comprehensive village community-based aquatic resources management (Vang Sagnouan/conservation of deep pool or the best-known fish sanctuaries as Fish Conservation Zones management). The study started with the arrangement of community meeting, during the meeting many issue have been taken to discussion including (i) the situation of current aquatic resources (fisheries) in their communities, (ii) identify major threats/problems to the sustainable use of these resources, along with opportunities for their improved management, (iii) define and prioritises this natural resource management and development needs from a community perspective, as the basis for developing new ‘‘co-management’’ (CM) as the collaborative and participatory process of regulatory decision-making among their community in order to manage this resource in sustainable way, and (iv) improve community capacity in natural resource management. Late, the participated villages agreed to establish FCZs in each village. Villagers defined the locations and boundaries of the FCZs, based on their local ecological knowledge (LEK), which has been accumulated through generations of fishing experience, and through the personal experiences and observations of local fishers. The outcome and benefit of the establishment of FCZs which obtained from the result of PM&E conducted one year late after the establishment of FCZs, villagers reported that the establishment of FCZs resulted in significant increases fish population in the FCZs. They also observed that fish population also increases in the areas adjacent to FCZs. Form this result it could be concluded the community-based management of aquatic resources especially the establishment of FCZs in Nalea district could be a good example and this would be scaling out in a wide range of natural resources management, including forest as well as non-timber forest products (NTFPs) may have a high potential for initiating co-management activities in Nalae as well.


Latsamy Phounvisouk , Oudone Khounsavanh , Dr. Vanthong Phengvichith