By Kevin Coltrain, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017
The Mekong Delta in Vietnam was different that I had originally expected. Overall, it was a metaphor for the overarching theme I have noticed in this voyage in general: expect the unexpected.
I went to two different locations in the Mekong Delta, Cai Be and Ben Tre. They had many similarities, including: high boat traffic, brownish water, trash filled, and overfished. I think the Mekong Delta will no longer be as populated as it is today for a few different reasons. First, the area seems to be completely overfished. When in the Cai Be region, in the middle of narrower canals, there were massive fishing nets that spanned at least 10 feet across. These nets seemed to be every 50 yards in the canal that we were entering, and lasted as far as I could see. In the Ben Tre region of the Mekong Delta, we experienced multiple fishing nets and traps as well. We saw one gentleman placing multiple traps from his boat, in strategic locations against the riverbanks. Also, at both locations, there were multiple people fishing on the riverbanks and on boats. Next, the water was extremely dirty. There was trash everywhere and even saw a dead animal floating in the water. This pollution will have negative affects on the fish, people, water, and wildlife around the river. Lastly, I think the high amounts of people living on the water itself will start to have negative impacts on new people entering the area. Especially since the people who are there currently are diminishing the beauty and life around the Mekong Delta. It brings up a debate whether anything can currently be done to save this area! If so, what can be done and how would the community