Standard Talk (15 mins) Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2022

How useful?: A review of three fish-friendly irrigation guidelines written for the Lower Mekong (#187)

Nicolette L Duncan 1
  1. Environmental Science, Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW, Australia

Guidelines are a ubiquitous management and training tool, however there is a dearth of guideline evaluation in the literature, especially in the water management sector. Water management is a contentious issue in which some resource uses necessarily trade-off against others, such as the trade-offs to inland fisheries of irrigation. The present study aimed to review three fish-friendly irrigation guidelines written for the Lower Mekong Basin in the past five years. Through document analysis and key informant interviews, insights into similarities and differences between these guidelines were obtained. While the guidelines were similarly recent, and shared a topic of focus, each approached fisheries in irrigated landscapes from a different perspective. Reviewed guidelines shared other traits including structure and content components which, if improved, could enhance their impact and utility. Five recommendations for guideline enhancement were determined, namely: improve target audience definition; involve target audience in guideline design and production; improve definition of guideline scope; improve recommendation specificity; and build in evaluation measures. The present study not only adds to water management guideline evaluation literature but has implications relevant to guideline creation and assessment more generally. The findingsĀ support multi-sectoral communication and collaboration for the advancement of fish-friendly irrigation structure concepts in the Lower Mekong Basin.