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An extraordinary ecosystem. A wetland of vital economic and ecological importance.
This cyclic flooding creates a genuine vegetal broil, which forms the basis of the extraordinary biological productivity of the lake. The Tonle Sap is one of the world's top freshwater fisheries (300,000 tons annual catch). It also shelters the most important waterbird colonies of the region and supports the world's largest snake harvest (five million individuals per year!) -- mostly to be given as snacks for farm crocodiles. Three million Cambodians are directly dependent upon the lake's resources, as fish provide 70 percent of their protein intake.
UNESCO registered the Tonle Sap on the list of Biosphere Reserve in 1997, in view of its exceptional ecological, economic, social and cultural value.