Feeling the pinch and saying goodbye
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Fishing villages in the Mekong River Basin blame dams in Laos for their plight
Outh Hien holds up his catch from five attempts with the net. He says fish catches are so pathetic that his grandchildren will not carry on the family fishing tradition. (Photo by Luke Hunt)
For centuries Outh Hien's ancestors fished the waters of the Tonle Sap and Mekong River. It was a lifestyle that put food on the table and gave birth to a culture that supported millions of fishing families who live along the muddied river banks.
That almost came to an end with the Khmer Rouge who wiped-out a third of the population — or about two million people — during their bloody reign, including all of Outh Hien's family leaving the 69-year-old as the last of his lineage to ply these waters.
"They killed my parents, brothers, sisters, 12 people. We always fished and that kept us going through good times and bad," he said, shaking his head. "Under Pol Pot, 1975 to 1979, it was very bad."
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