Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t signs off on Koh Rong protected habitat

Gov’t signs off on Koh Rong protected habitat

Fish school around the pylons of a jetty in M’Pai Bay on Koh Rong Samloem in Preah Sihanouk province. Paul Colley
Fish school around the pylons of a jetty in M’Pai Bay on Koh Rong Samloem in Preah Sihanouk province. Paul Colley

Gov’t signs off on Koh Rong protected habitat

The Cambodian government has signed off on the Kingdom’s first dedicated marine protection area in a bid to save the Koh Rong Archipelago’s coral reef and sea life.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries signed an agreement late last week designating more than 400 square kilometres as a protected marine management area around the islands, located 20 kilometres off the coast of Sihanoukville.

Fauna and Flora International coastal and marine conservation project manager Kate West said the landmark decision would go a long way to protecting the coral and sea turtles, as well as the endangered bumphead parrotfish.

“It’s a huge step for Cambodia,” West said. “Because there was no formal protection for these coral reef habitats [before] . . . you risked overexploiting species. The marine ecosystem is a delicate balance.”

She said if species that protect coral from algae infestations were fished out, it would harm the health of the reef and other marine life.

But the project does not put a blanket ban on fishing, which is vital to the livelihoods of the villagers; instead it assigns different areas for sustainable fishing, scuba diving and research.

Ouk Vibol, director of the Fisheries Administration’s department of conservation, said in a statement the new zone would “help to drive sustainable fishing activities of the community, protect biodiversity and promote ecotourism”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Archeologists find ancient phallic statue

    An archeological team has found a metre-long tipless stone linga (penis) of the Hindu deity Shiva in the foundations of a temple in Kratie province’s historical Samphu Borak area, a former capital of the pre-Angkor Empire Chenla period. Thuy Chanthourn, the deputy director of

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police