Touch Seang Tana, Michael Sullivan
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
11 Nov 2005
- Phnom Penh
- 11.5710362 104.9299908
- Sennheiser MKH 20
2X Sennheiser MKH 20
TOUCH by the Cambodiana
Interview with TOUCH SEANG TANA
Mkh20 - spaced omni stereo split track
500 35 ambi on dock
Touch pronounces his name
817 touch -started during kr time around 1975/6 when I lived in the wetland in the great lake area -battaman ? province I had to catch fish and start to learn about fish biology from that time.
M -30 yrs ago -you started studying fish bc you are hungry¿
Ms -where are we>?
850 t -this is katabra -the confluence of the 4 river -Mekong upstream, downstream and also tsriver and the bbbb river¿the signif of -the most impr part of this katabra is this is distributution of fish -moving of feeding ground to spawning ground¿.
M -u where depend on fish to save lived how imp today
1007 t -complexity¿diff kind of animal protein¿.about 70% rely on fish -most for protein¿.
M -and for a living ?
T -I think that according to r research in 96?86 many depend on
M -population of 13 mil -in absence of fish could get protein from other source?
T -complexity¿how cambod people should look into farming¿.look into other animal, chicken¿.
M -what would short term be if fish disappeared
T -I think at moment 1238 -eventhough fish declined still fish for eating especially for fish near water body if fish ¿.the gish will not be? Unique system only place in world (THIS IS'T TRUE) water flow up
M - The sustainability of the habitat is dependent on the reversal of the river into the lake and then out of lake again 1343
T -it relies on the physical of aspect of the wetland -depth of water second impor thing of fish biology. 3rd is support of flora they produce feed for fish during feed season
M -Mekong basin I have been told it is the most productive river in world¿Cambodia doesn't have a lot but you do have that
T -I think if you look at whole system ¿.down from conform in Lao¿.this part most imprt and core of this part is great lake region and it is very important for fish productivity
1513 m -are u worried that this seasonal reversal might some how endangerd ¿.dams
1527 -T -I think it depends on whatever level of development bc development¿.cambodia is the least dept in the water develp we are not develop we are not using water for other develop irraigation 1616 I hope in the future everything will be changed during next yrs most import for Camb to figure out what we should do -everything change -how we mutate ourselves to the ?? of the environment 1646
M -do you believe MBasin under threat
1656 T -if you just look at general pic you would be worried that it maybe threatened but if you look deeper with observations it is written it is not so big at the moment and we are talking about the GMS discussing about how to make a balance btwn from water from other countries in terms of peope livelihood
1740 M -fashionable to blame Chinese
1758 T I think this is one of the problems that the scientific cant tell so much ¿.as mankind people want to blame other people rather than whatever they do themselves. A lot of people concerned about the Chinese dam and some group of the scientists¿they may have some small affect bc it is not regularly contribute to flow -16% - sometimes less more -maybe go up to 60 or 70% during rain season -fish spawning. But now we found out some impact when they start to build first dam. They worry about dam broken ¿ we can see this yr the water come very early. 1955
M -who is responsible? Overfishing?
T -I think overfishing is one of the rational way to say bc when pop grow the nat resources decline this is rule of nature.
M -2022 too many cambod chases too few fish
T -this is yeah. This is bc of the poverty. bc in cambo most people rely on natural food and most peple rely on tradition. The mutability of the cambod people is very slow bc the nat environment is still ok but if you look at the fish even though environ ok if you look into the fish -people want ot get cash people go to water to get money. They go the catfish they can sell it and make money in one day and if they do farming it takes a long time that is why you can see the number of fishermen increase through time. ¿. 2134
M -and improved fishing techn. And have severe impact
T -dynamite fishing old -20 yrs ago. Now well controlled by fishing authority and many people understand the danger of using dynamite fishing and the society ¿¿ dynamite decline ¿ near community people don't' do it. Use gil net go to small size¿.mesh nets¿.to me .. I want to be 2.5 the fishermen poor fishermen say they can't get any fish but they will use smaller than 1.5 and diff for auth to take -bc they are so poor
M -a tragedy w/o villains but a trag non the less 2348 -they are poor and the need money and one way to get it is fish
2357 T -to me I understand the same ideology and many other officers and our prime min understand the same problem it diff to stop illegal fishing and now we start to how to develop the aquaculture to help people and then another one that our people are poor they cannpt invest in starting point in farming our credit system is still poor and we can see the microcredit system in cambdo - ¿.. poor people can not pay back. Aqua tech is slow¿. 2530
M -but you don't believe that the mbasin is under threat
T -I think it is under threat bc of overfishing and overpopulation
M -you don't seem overly concerned you just seem ¿you aren't one of the doom sayers
2556 - T -I knw that a lot of people too extremists. If you go to meet with some of the fishermen but one of the -you should bring this issue to think about. If thy cant survive why do they still stay in the water -they are still waiting for the fish. In cambod situation -in camb we have a very cheap way of surviving bc all of the food is cheap it is still affordable¿..fish is really cheap -everyone say that fish is scarce (??) but everyone agree that fish price cannpt increase so high¿.sometime I am the one who raised my concern early . I am speaking last 10 yr -I am concerned about fish decline, but until today we found out it is written that there is some prob but the prob is not the really critical problem -our people -we still have small pop -13 mil even though it still increase about double compared to 1980 or 85 but this pop is still small¿.still a lot of opp to develop this country 2753 industry¿.processing factory¿..many other things -in future if those people if you just rely on just on the natural resource we cannt build up our own economy an dlivelhood and then they might adopt tech for producing not just fish -maybe other farming system -like agriculture (Something weird with one side of recording -but still ok 2900) this is our problem -2920 -we just start to look at what kind of tech we need to help people and this is our prob that we face at the moment
2937 m -wars help keep river cleaner?
2949 t -I think this is a good point. The GMS (great Mekong subregion?) are made the board and the MRC look at it to discuss how to keep this environment stable. They way to do that it takes a long time it depends on psychology of people¿..in Thailand use chemicals¿laos no, no cambod, but now cambd starting to use. Me and my group start to conduct many studies how to make organic pest organ fert 3107 you want to get results and get money¿..but in Cambodia tradition still remain in our mind that is why they work not so hard they just want to spread seed and wait until harvesting. This is why the behavior the govt of Cambodia think about how to make this behavior change 3228
3228 m -fish impor here -water festival celebrates what
t -water festival usually many concept in old time. To show how strong like a parade like indepnd parade show off army¿show off boats and we are strong in terms of boat¿.kill a lot of enemy in this river¿.the water festival start to eat umbok and rice we pray for a prosperity for our farming 3351
boat passing3444 t -usually see many more boats BURP
3507 t -water fest bring the fish from the great lake everyone can catch fish people start to harvest their rice¿.a kind of flat rice¿.very tasty. Coconut water . it means that a period of harvesting -no more war only second concept remains. If fish decline and if something change ¿.. this one just a tradition to show our tradition -the water fest should keep forever unique festival no one has in the world. This is our trad this is our culture. This is my understanding.
3656 m- thousands of boats here. Peek fishing season. Dozens is charitable. Where are the fish
T -I just came back from field over the weekend conduct survey test water and why this year the fish come late? Bc it is to compare the flood level of last year. 1 meter higher than last year so this is not the case. Why bc they can't stay in flood plane anymore. There is something pushed them out. Biochemistry. During this period we have a north wind blow strongly. And we make the water saturate with air¿..mass 02 in water is high. Bacteria on bottom¿..react to produce ammonia ¿. All fish smell ammonia an =d run away..mekong river is reallu good water. They will move to find some shelter especially deep water and some of them will move up to spawning ground.
M -but where are the fish now
T -3931 -now? They stay somewhere in the river only bc they feel -bc it rains everyday. Rain brings o2 to water¿.they are happy they don't want to move. They are happy to live in wetland bc ok for them
Ms -not that fish aren't coming but they decided to delay their trip
4004 t -I thnk that some big fish move. I would like to tell you that whatever the fw day one of gc caught by fisherman in Kampotcha and died now they keep bine for the museum¿..during my study 1980 all big fish and breeder fish for next yr escape from flood plain to the forest in middle by mid of aug and mid of sept and move down to tsr and some first batch of fish can reach the catabra and then they move upstream to ??? ready for spawning next year. But some breeder fish pass over¿..some fish arrive here late¿..
4125 m -so you aren't worry.
T -if they know that the know that the fish are coming all of the fish will spread thru out this area
M -so quest that the fish are coming
4144 t -to me they will come and there are plenty of fish this year. And really true bc I did plenty of fish this year and I test fish and found lot of fish. This year mosquito net fishing -about 60% of them we controlled -we compensate them. It means that only in the remote area they can use this fishing to catch fish after spawning but last yr we controlled only less than 50%
4225 jess -so you actually know bc you have seen the babies most of the fisherman don't know that you bear good news
4236 t -I think some fishermen they know much better than me they are like scientists bc they live with fish for 50 yrs or something like that. But some fisherman they are newcomers -they just want cash, they not much job in this country we have only garmet factory¿.taxis¿jobless. don't have big op for job¿.that is why do fishing gil nets
4332 m- gc and zeb -canary in the coal mine
T -I am not agree in principal in that. Zeb came you know 5 6 yrs ago. I met him quite a few times and we do not have much discussion with that bc zeb just come and he has his own methodology and I don't know what is his understanding about the biological aspect in this system. But me I work almost here for 30 yrs and I understood most of thefish it is behavior. I do not say I understand all but at least I have much more than other people have in this country.
m- 4445 -so what I am hearing you say is that you attribute the lack of the gc here more to the damming that has been going on in Thailand and outside of Cambodia than youdo that the fact that overfishing is going on here
4459 t -sometimes you know we can blame upstream -story about special spawning ground. Stimulate to spawn. Need strong current to spawn¿¿fish spawn over there. Baby fish after spawning babyfish float down. One way they enter pakman river and another party they move down staright cambod¿we found mk gc in the great lake and then they float down near Viet border. But they don't want to get on the Viet side bc too much pollution¿¿Chiang Con¿.dam¿. 4710 - for camb. We just receive the baby from the spawning ground in Thailand we don't have place for spawning here in Cambodia according to my study. But zeb still suspect that we still have a spawning ground here in Cambodia I cannt -you can reject me at any time. And I can say no to you. It maybe have a spawning ground here, but according to my research and onbservation until today I found out there is no spawning ground. Maybe have somewhere.
4758 m -but do you believe there are fewer gmcatfish now as a result of overfishing
4800 t -I think the giant catfish now we have a program with zeb -I should thank zeb also bc he start this program of tagging of conserving this species that is why now when the fishermen they get fish they sell it to the fishery officer. But you know, in katmachan, why did they fish die? Why does the fisherman not want to give the fish to the fishery officer? Bc over there maybe the fish off. Doesn't want to pay according to law it is ban for catching fish. Officer sometimes doesn't want to pay they want to get free and release back to the water¿.fishermen need cash¿.they just want to keep fish and hide bc they heard at the Thai border they can get 5 us dollar per kilogram. Bc according to Thai if you eat this fish you get long life. Chinese belief. And then in Thailand people sold this fish 20 usd per kilogram.
M - You don't think the traffic has gone underground -you think they are selling these underground?
T -I think there is sometime bc there is fear that they can have a channel for escape -but usually in this area it is diff for them to escape and mrc and our researchers stay in every bagnet fishing. And one fish caught and you pay. Not like money you can get at the water. But it is good enough -you can get sometimes 200$ - at border you can sometimes get more but you take risk. If we can arrest them on the way you can lose everything.
5023 m -but do you condemn this practice of catching fish and think it is wrong ¿do you think they should be put back in river or do you think they are poor and they want to make some money?
5041 t -I think we have a very good system. 5044 LOUD NET BEING REELED IN- people going fishing
T -see not much fish -that it is why they are catch fishing
Some talk over the reeling in but cnt hear
Walking to another site
5500 5636ambi of reeling in the net -in bg
M -what do we lose if we lose gc -I am hearing you say we don't lose a lot
T -5645 the pop of gc to compare in old time is means that now it is something increase a little bit. In around 80 we caught a lo of cfish and then in 90 to 2000 there is a big decline of the gc. And now as zeb comes to work we can see gc comeback and he tag a lot of fish and release it. ¿ but most of the fish caught by fishermen w/out tag they are everywhere.
5738 m -but you do not believe that fewer gc is the first sign that fewer fish overall in the mbasin. .
5748 t -I thnk that not only one species as key indicator for environment or health of the mriver. To me I think that at least 4 or 5 species of the ?? one is the giant catfish the other is bbbbb and the 3rd one dddd listing names in Khmer¿..about 4 or species -we want to keep all of these species as a key indicator to tell about the health of the mriver. If they are still there bc if you look at what we call the composition of these 5 species if they ¿the share remains the same- if share (?) starts to change¿..then the environmental health of the mr decline.
M -we were in the orusay market. We saw plenty of catfish there. What I am hearing you say is be worried if you don't see any catfish there in the market, not any gc
T - 5922 yeah. Bc not only one bc not only one can indicate environmental health but you know the leading -bc this is a big species and a rare species that is why everyone keep it in our mind that this is the most important species but to me according to my study, according to my research the SOMETHING IN KHMER ¿..
10002 m -why are fish so important to the Cambodian psyche -there was fish everywhere. Fish fish fish. And currency. What is -WHY
T -bc you should know that . according to the place you stay contribute to you this kind of thing and this becomes tradition. and this becomes behavior and attitude of people. Bc easy to get fish. And then the cost you sometimes you can get free -even that they can get fish for free. This is our tradition. rice and fish is our tradition. it is our culture ¿.it is the origin of the cambod behavior but now if we develop the country if we just rely on that we cannt diff to develop bc people still rely on this behavior. If you just rely on that you can not develop the country. Bc we just subsistence all of the time we cant make a surplus. Even the fish ? ¿..fish scare? We just process¿¿10229 I am getting sleepy now¿.we just make adjustment now. If one day we have to change from that¿.
10250 ms -but until that day comes, everycambodian is going to eat fish.
10258 yes that is true but we can go into another aspect -we should go for farming¿.now we eat every kind of fish TALK about boney fish and grinding inhis teach for calcium. Behavior of rich and of poor and we want our people to behave like rich¿talk about fleshy fish¿.how to help Cambodian to change -change to biotechnomlogy¿.have my own group¿.wood vinegar pest repellent¿.
10940 t pronounce fish in khmer
11025 t -in the old time no need to get fish in the river you get fish in the small creek in the wetland catch fish by hand. Catfish for dry season. During raining season catch cf in flood plains
11103 T id himself and say his name TEN MINS later¿.
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