Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Marine park’ off Koh Rong planned

‘Marine park’ off Koh Rong planned

A map showing the boundaries of the Marine Fisheries Management Area established last year for the Koh Rong Archipelago.
A map showing the boundaries of the Marine Fisheries Management Area established last year for the Koh Rong Archipelago. Daniel Nass

‘Marine park’ off Koh Rong planned

The waters of the Koh Rong Archipelago may yet receive an additional layer of administrative protection, the Ministry of Environment announced last week, although how the proposed “marine park” will function remains to be seen, stakeholders said yesterday.

Doubling down on a Facebook post by the ministry, Environment Minister Say Samal was quoted in local media yesterday saying that “the government decided to create the Koh Rong Island Park … to manage the natural resources there, and in the near future, [the] ministry will create the first national marine [conservation] park in Cambodia’s history”. Samal ignored multiple requests for comment yesterday.

Currently a 400-square-kilometre Marine Fisheries Management Area (MFMA), administered by the Agriculture Ministry’s Fisheries Administration (FiA) in collaboration with the conservation NGO Fauna & Flora International (FFI) protects the waters around Koh Rong and neighbouring Koh Rong Samloem.

According to the ministry’s original post, which described a meeting between Samal and FFI Country Director Ahab CW Downer, FFI is willing to lend its expertise to the venture. Reached yesterday, Downer referred comments to FFI Coastal and Marine Conservation Project Manager Marianne Teoh.

Teoh said that, for now, FFI’s work on Marine Conservation is limited to working with FiA. “Fisheries Administration and Ministry of Environment I believe are having discussions,” she said.

Currently, the MFMA only has jurisdiction over the waters around the islands, and involving the Environment Ministry could expand much-needed conservation efforts to regulating development on land.

“This could be a way for the ministries to have a more holistic management of the Koh Rong archipelago,” Teoh noted, adding that FFI would look forward to working “with any parties with aligned aims of protecting coastal and marine habitats in Cambodia”.

Deputy FiA Director Ouk Vibol – who heads the MFMA collaboration with FFI – could not be reached. Meanwhile, FiA director Eng Chea San yesterday said he was unaware of the Environment Ministry’s announcement, but said it could be “a better thing” if the ministries worked together.

Chea Sam Ang, of the General Department of Administration for Nature Conservation and Protection within the Ministry of Environment, said the plan would be to incorporate the existing MFMA structure within the new national marine park.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all