Fish outta water: Reservoir giants killed by Thailand’s drought (Video)

A truck carries several giant catfish carcasses away from a reservoir Friday in the northern province of Phrae. Photo: Hannarong Yaowalers / Facebook
A truck carries several giant catfish carcasses away from a reservoir Friday in the northern province of Phrae. Photo: Hannarong Yaowalers / Facebook

A graphic video showing dozens of gigantic catfish carcasses being pulled out of a dried-out reservoir then lugged away from its muddy banks does not bode well for Thailand’s climate situation.

The footage which has circulated in recent days shows dozens of residents flocking to rescue giant, 100-kilogram Mekong catfish from the drought-hit Mae Kampong Reservoir in the Northern province of Phrae but, unfortunately, it was already too late for most – only four were saved.

“This is the first time something like this has ever happened in Phrae,” Sangwan Durayab, one of the fishermen involved in Friday’s catfish rescue told Coconuts Bangkok yesterday afternoon.

As Thailand transitions from its hottest months to the rainy season, lower-than-usual monsoon rains are forecast. The north and northeast have been harder hit than usual and water levels and many of the dams and reservoirs have fallen low.

Sangwan said the sad situation at the reservoir was caused by a few factors: this year’s long and severe drought, hot weather and damage to the reservoir’s water release system.

“With decreased water, the reservoir gets really muddy. Many of the fish drowned in the mud,” Sangwan said, adding that the surviving four were transported to a nearby water source.

Check out this 360 photo of the extremely low water levels at the Mae Kampong Reservoir in the Northern province of Phrae on Tuesday:

Some of the carcasses, meanwhile, were sold to local merchants for THB165,000 (US$5,000) while others were given to residents.  

“The money raised will be given to the district,” Sangwan said.

Talk about eating your problems away, huh?

The provincial governor ordered repairs to the reservoir’s spillway completed as quickly as possible, he said.

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People carry some of the catfish away. Photo: Hannarong Yaowalers / Facebook

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