Woman selling fish. Fresh fish commands a premium price in the city and provincial markets. There is a huge demand nation-wide for both cultured and captured fish. During the dry season, cultured fish is a valuable commodity. - - LAO/97/007. This aquaculture development project is committed to working with farmer groups. At central lever the project is able to advise on the potential for aquaculture in the different agro-climatic areas of Laos. Aquaculture techniques include: pond culture of fish; rice-fish culture; hatchery development. The following activities, which vary between provinces, have been conducted: surveys; workshops; training of farmers? groups; improvement of fish hatcheries; and evaluation of extension activities.
There are a wide variety of agro-climatic zone in Laos defined by altitude, climate soil type and rainfall. Whilst there is plentiful rain during the monsoon, the dry season is severe and rice-fish culture in many areas is limited. During the dry season, water is confined to rivers and streams; ponds and standing rainfed water bodies dry up completely. During the rainy season, river levels rise and there is often flooding in many areas. The result is that fish are able to leave the rivers and streams and forage in low-lying submerged areas. A typical example during the rainy season is rice paddy fields, which can provide abundant aquatic life, an important source of nutrition to the population.
The method of increasing the amount of fish produced from rice fields is to directly stock fish fingerlings (rice-fish culture). Other changes are also necessary to ensure increase production, such as managing water levels and providing refuge areas by raising the walls of paddy fields and digging refuge ponds or small channels. In the areas where water is abundant the fish caught from the paddy can be transferred to the pond bed, and from agricultural wastes in the pond, such as manure and vegetable by-products.
Because of the lack of na