The habitat of the dragon fish, one of the world’s endanger species that it has been found in Cardamom Mountains has been proposed by the government of Cambodia to build the hydro dam.
Mr. Seng Bunara, Country’s Representative of Conservation International to Cambodia said, the dragon fish has survived along three main river in Cardamom Mountains near the sea.
“In Cambodia, we can find dragon fish along Chhay Areng River, Stung Tatay River and Stung Chhay Rep; three main rivers of the Cardamom Mountain”, he said.
In Cambodia, dragon fish is one of endanger animals, because it was a kind of fish species that most of the people, especially the legend of Chinese. It was catch by the local people to market, but last recent years it has been preserved by Conservation International.
“Before, when they saw the dragon fish, it mean the same as they saw money”, Bunara said.
Dragon fish is one of the fresh water fishes. It usually survive along the rivers in the plateau. Its scientific name is Seheropages Formosus. At this moment, it has been found in some where in Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. It has different color based on its habitat’s ecology and weather. It has been found green, silver, red tail and gold etc. It is not mainly catch for eating, but it is expensive and make them became endanger specie because of the common belief from Chinese’s legend. Chinese people believe that it is the lucky fish and it has relative with the dragon. It was registered in the world endanger specie in 2006.
“It is not expensive because of meat and taste, but it is because of belied”, Bunara said.
According to Mr. Bunara, it usually is a pet at the shop or restaurants and in Cambodia it usually saw at every Chinese Restaurant.
“The dragon fish’s feeder, belief that, if the sun shine to its skin and reflect the light more bright it mean that their business will be good as the same as the reflection”, he said.
Today, because of that legend, the price of the dragon fish at the market is not as the same as other fish species. Some dragon fish can sell USD500 or more.
“Just the same size as finger, the villagers confirm me that they can sell it to Thai’s middle man at least USD 5 what about the big one”, Bunara said.
According to some documents, a dragon fish can reach 90cm and can jump so height. Its main food is frog, small fish, and other water insect. Today, it is danger because of commercial issues, but it was ban for commercial purpose, especially the dragon fish at the natural habitat, except from the farm.
In Cambodia, the dragon fish, the local people use to catch them is 7kg, but there are no body can provide how many they still remain in the natural habitat yet.
Beside, it has been endangered because of the commercial purpose, in Cambodia it seemingly suffer because of the human being’s development project. The major three river , where it survive at the Cardamom Mountains, most are propose by the government of Cambodia to develop the hydro dam to feed the electricity shortage for the country.
Mr. Bunara said, he does not know the hydro dam development in the Cardamom Mountains details yet, but what he know is that the dragon fish like living in the clean water and always flow. It can not live in the lake, therefore the government should consider about this.
“If it can adapt to the live in the lake it is ok, but what I am worry is that it can not adapt”, he said.
This is the concern idea of Mr. Bunara, but he expect that the propose development project would not affect its seriously, because the master plan of Stung Tatay River is not at the habitat of the dragon fish. Its habitat is little bit far from the proposed project and the two more, the developer would keep the fish step for fish migration.
“It can affect the dragon fish if there is no a fish step, but it has, I think it will not much affect the dragon fish. The water still have the movement, so I think it can adapt”, he said.