The middle zone of Songkla is linked to the Gulf of Thailand. It covers 182 square kilometres with an average depth of 1.5 metres. The area is occupied with seawater although turns brackish during rainy season.
The small scale fisherfolks whose livelihoods are heavily dependent on the Lake commonly agree that the Lake’s ecology has definitely changed.
"If you ask us about global warming or climate change, most small-scale fisher-folk will find it difficult to answer you, because we don't really understand these phenomena. But if you ask us whether the weather has changed over the past 30 to 40 years, we will tell you yes, it has definitely changed. For example, the water in the lake has become much hotter, we can feel it with our hands and on our skin.
Seaweed growth is something else which has changed a lot in recent years. In the past, Songkhla Lake had many different varieties of seaweed, but not in large quantities. However, over the past 5 years or so, some types of seaweed have become very abundant, resulting in all sorts of problems. The seaweed has become tangled in our fishing gears, damaging them in the process, and we have often ended up catching more seaweed than fish! Usually, during the season when freshwater enters the lake, most of the seaweed dies off. But in some recent years the volume of freshwater entering the lake has been very low, allowing the seaweed to accumulate and degrading overall water quality. This has affected the development of aquatic animals and impacted upon the Songkhla Lake ecosystem as a whole. All of this, of course, impacts upon our livelihoods." Miss Yainab Ridtoe, 51 years old - Small-scale Fisher-folk, Songkhla Lake
This phenomenon was uncommon in the past but has become more frequent nowadays due to an increasingly poor water circulation and decrease depth of the lake, which in turns has a knock on impact on boat navigation for the small-scale fisherfolks, making it more difficult for them to take their boats out to fish and subsequently impacting their livelihoods. Meanwhile, the climate change prediction between 2006- 2040 conducted by Ramkhamhaen University forecasts that volume of seawater in the lake will be increased and it will directly impact the ecology of the lake.
The community finds that their approach in preparing for the adaptation of climate change is to increase community's capacity in terms of knowledge and skills, particularly basic scientific knowledge and accompanied it with local traditional knowledge. With this capacity the community will be able to cooperate with the government agencies in collectively developing a better management plan to improve and protect Songkla Lake. This kind of cooperation is a vital approach to address climate change adaption and they must seek to build a development plan correspond to local ecosystem and in line with the current situation and ensure the risk reduction of the community’s livelihoods.