SEAFDEC convened the “Experts Workshop on Fishway Design Principles to Enhance Sustainability of Inland Fishery in the Southeast Asian Region” on 6-10 March 2016 in Thailand and Lao PDR, with financial support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). Attended by regional and international experts, officers and experts of the Department of Fisheries and the Royal Irrigation Department of Thailand as well as the SEAFDEC Secretary-General, and concerned officers of SEAFDEC Secretariat, Training Department (TD), and Inland Fishery Resources Development and Management Department (IFRDMD), the Workshop was aimed at obtaining information from experts on their works related to fishways, as well as their recommendations on the design and construction of experimental fishways that would be undertaken by TD with support from ACIAR.
Pre-workshop excursion was arranged for the participants to visit the fish passage at Sui Reservoir in Cham Phone District, and fish friendly floodgates in Huay Papak, Huay Kae and Huay Phin in Xayburi District, Savanakhet Province in Lao PDR. The participants also observed the fishway facilities at the Thoranit-naruemit Watergate and Na Koo Watergate in Nakhon Phanom Province, and Suraswadi Watergate in Sakon Nakhon Province in Thailand. This was followed by the workshop session, where knowledge and views among the experts on fishways based on biological, ecological, hydrological and engineering points of view, were shared. In addition, the principles and criteria to be considered in designing experimental fishways were also discussed. The Workshop subsequently considered the model of an experimental fishway constructed by TD, which was initially designed for low-head weirs targeting fingerling size cyprinids that require longitudinal migration. With recommendations from the experts, TD’s initial fishway model would be improved and used to experiment on various fish species and come up with relevant data and information on fish biology and behavior that could be used to improve the model. It was also suggested that field experiment could also be considered in the future to verify the use of the fishway model in facilitating upstream migration of fish across cross-river obstacles. Furthermore, the Workshop also recommended the establishment of an e-group for fishway experts as starting point to facilitate sharing of information on their works in relation to fishways in the future.