Norwegian group Vitamar wants to build a $US23 million dollar fish farm in the southern port town Sihanoukville while the Japanese International Cooperation Agency has its own plans for a fish breeding program and a research centre in Phnom Penh.
But business can also be fickle.
“Some months are good, some months are not so good,” said Sok Chanty, 40, who turned to fish farming as traditional fish stocks fell. He provides baby fish reared in ponds for restaurants.
“Still it's much better than the alternative. Fishing in the Mekong is physically tough and it hurts as you get older,” he said. “Why would you do that when the returns are so small?”
For those reasons world aquaculture production is expected to surpass the production of traditional fish catches by 2023 and that should help re-orientate food security and improve the lives of millions in the LMB, who still live a traditional hand-to-mouth existence.
MONEY, DAMS AND POWER
Further upstream in Laos the high mountains and steep canyons dictate river flows and this is also changing rapidly with the government in Vientiane relentless in its push for hydro-power development.
Damming the main stream of the region's longest river is a contentious point. Environmentalists are bitterly opposed to dam construction, a key plank in the Lao government's plan to turn their impoverished, landlocked country into "the battery of Asia".
It wants to sell hydro-electricity into neighbouring countries through construction of 11 dams across the mainstream of the Mekong River with another 123 dams to be built along the river's tributaries.
Laos has just announced the go ahead of its third mainstream dam, at Pak Beng in the north and has tried to allay concerns over traditional fish breeding patterns, arguing fish by-passes would enable fish migration to continue upstream for spawning. Scientists, however, are not convinced.