Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Community fights for mangroves

Community fights for mangroves

Community fights for mangroves

5-story-3.jpg
5-story-3.jpg

VANDY RATTANA

Mangroves in Sihanoukville are increasingly under threat.

A

FISHING community in Sihanoukville has become deadlocked in its battle with authorities to redress the seizure of portions of a coastal mangrove forest that has put their livelihoods in peril, according to community leaders.

Sihanoukville's deputy governor Spoang Sarath seized 13 hectares of the 9,000-hectare mangrove forest in April this year, according to a leader within the fishing community who requested anonymity, and ordered the clearing and filling in of three hectares of the forest to reclaim land from the sea for future development.

"We want to get this resolved and to recover the community forest because it is vital to the poor people who rely on it," said the leader.

He said that cutting down the trees and filling in the area with earth would destroy the area for fishing. "We have tried to warn [the workers], but they didn't listen because their orders came from a high-ranking official."

The trees were given to the community by Nao Thuok, the director general of the government's Fisheries Department, in July 2007, said Kit Chanratha, the deputy chief of the mangrove fishing community. "We've been waiting since before the elections in July for the provincial fisheries department to stop the destruction of the forest."

Spoang Sarath denied involvement with the seizure and clearing of the land. "Some people may have taken advantage of the recent elections to seize the land because they thought we would be too busy to respond," he told the Post. He added that the issue would be resolved once the new government elected during last month's national elections was in place.

For the small fishing community, however, the damage has been done. "Some of the land that has been cleared and filled has already been titled to new owners," said Sin Setharoth, deputy chief of the provincial fisheries department. 

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman