A Bend in The River

Photograph for TIME by Samuel Bollendorff / Oeil Public

Cambodian fisherman Bun Neang says the Mekong-fed Tonle Sap lake is yielding ever smaller catches—and blames China for it

The nets yield almost no fish today, the same as yesterday and the day before that. For generations, Bun Neang's family has depended on the bounty of Cambodia's Tonle Sap, a vast lake fed by one of the world's greatest rivers, the Mekong. Two decades ago, his father could rely on a daily catch totaling about 65 lbs. (30 kg). When the water gods were feeling particularly charitable, he would land a Mekong catfish, a massive bottom-feeder that can weigh as much as a tiger. But today, when Bun Neang dips his net into the caramel-hued waters near Chong...

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