Life on the Lake

By Whittaker, Terry | Geographical, October 2000 | Go to article overview

Life on the Lake


Whittaker, Terry, Geographical


The Tonle Sap (Great Lake) is part of a unique freshwater system essential to the economy of Cambodia. At the height of the rainy season, overflow from the swollen Mekong river flows north through the 100-kilometre Tonle Sap river, flooding the lake with an estimated 73 billion cubic metres of nutrient-rich water. During the dry season the flow of the Tonle Sap river is reversed, slowly releasing the water back into the Mekong. Incredibly rich in aquatic life, the lake and river system supports a huge commercial and subsistence fishing industry producing 80 per cent of the protein consumed in the country. As the vast lake shrinks in the dry season from around 10,360 sq.km to 2,700 sq.km, the enriched land is planted with rice, and the floating villages along its shores move with the water level -- the lives of the people inextricably bound to the lake.

A commercial fish trap at Prek Toal, Tonle Sap. The area of the lake around the floating village of Prek Toal is divided into commercial fishing lots. These areas are allocated by public auction, but practice large amounts of money change hands to ensure the lots stay under the control of powerful businessmen. The lot holders employ well-armed guards to protect the fishery from poaching. A the water recedes from the flooded forest, the lot holders erect large net traps at the lake's edge

A floating house at Siem Reap. As fertile land, enriched with silt from the floodwater, becomes exposed it is planted with rice to be harvested before the next rainy season. Since the Angkorian period of the 9th to the 15th centuries this area has provided the people of Cambodia with ample food. Now, billion-dollar projects to dam the upper reaches of the Mekong river and its tributaries are threatening the survival of this ecosystem

Family fishing operations for small-scale commerce and food are allowed in designated public fishing areas but many also buy or rent rights inside the commercial lot. Most of this fishing is done with 100-metre long gill nets catching large numbers of small species. Annually 15-20,000 tons of these fish are made into prahok, a fermented fish paste

The flooded forest at the northern end of the lake is an important breeding ground for water birds. It's the last major colony in Southeast Asia for the endangered spot-billed pelican (Pelicanus philippensis) and a regionally important breeding site for the endangered greater adjutant stork (Leptotilus dubius), white-winged duck (Cairina scutulata) and several other threatened species. The area was proposed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1997

As the water in the lake falls, a fish trap is exposed at Prek Toal, Tonle Sap. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Life on the Lake
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.