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Climate adaptation and innovation in Mekong aquaculture – AQUADAPT Mekong

Aquaculture is an important economic sector, source of livelihood, and contributor to the resilience of food systems across the Mekong region. In 2012, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam ranked among the top ten aquaculture producers globally. Thailand and Vietnam are the third- and fourth-largest exporters of fish and fishery products, valued at CA$10.6 billion and CA$8.3 billion respectively. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam all have national policies that aim to increase aquaculture production significantly. However, the region is facing a warmer future with more frequent and severe weather events and rising sea levels that impact regional hydrology. Mekong aquaculture is already affected by floods, causing fish loss from ponds, damaging cages, and exhausting fish trying to maintain their position in the current, while droughts and low water levels impact water quality, increasing toxicity and fish death.

This project aims to help fish farmers in the region to manage climate-related risks and increase adaptive capacity by developing, evaluating, and supporting the uptake of promising innovations. The innovations include technologies such as wind- and solar-powered pond aerators; institutional and policy measures such as mutual or weather index-based insurance for risk transfer; and information-communication systems, including text messaging and Facebook groups. These will be piloted and adapted to different local contexts, and up-scaled across the five countries through a network of nationally based innovation specialists, each having a thematic project-wide coordinating role, and technical experts who will only work as needs arise.

This project is led by Chiang Mai University in Thailand with nodal partners across the Mekong region, including the Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute, Cambodia; National University of Laos; World Fish Centre, Myanmar; Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand; and Can Tho University, Vietnam.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
36 months
IDRC Officer
Melanie Robertson
Total Funding
CA$ 1,759,500.00
Viet Nam
Institution Country
Project Leader
Dr. Louis Lebel
Chiang Mai University


Climate adaptation and innovation in Mekong aquaculture : final technical report

Climate adaptation and innovation in Mekong aquaculture : final technical report


A large-scale survey of aquaculture conditions revealed important climate-related risks (rapid changes in temperature, drought, intense rainfall events, and floods). Existing risk management practices and strategies were documented and the need for locally appropriate aeration options or innovations were confirmed. The project worked to ensure that fish farmers in the Mekong Region have the capacity to manage climate-related risks and adapt to climate change through innovations that contribute to sustainability of aquaculture value-chains. Targeted locations were in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Annexes to the project are comprehensive (pp. 65-995) including details of aquaculture fisheries construction and management.

Author(s): Lebel, Louis

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Language: English

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