Lake Balkhash, a once-pristine body of water in southeastern Kazakhstan, is shrinking at an alarming rate. Its dwindling size poses an existential threat to the fishermen who depend on it for their livelihoods, their culture, and their traditions. Erbolgan Erbosynov is one such fisherman who fears that his way of life is slipping away as the lake’s water levels continue to drop.
The situation is dire. Fishermen returning from the lake are finding their boats nearly empty, hard-pressed to make ends meet. Some blame the Snakehead fish, a predatory species that is quickly taking over and preying on other fish in the lake. Others point to the Ili River, which feeds into Lake Balkhash and has been drastically reduced in size due to agricultural irrigation in neighboring China. As the fate of this once-beautiful lake hangs in the balance, filmmaker Alexander Prokopenko takes us on a journey to uncover the truth behind its decline and the people fighting to save it.