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

  • Quarantine still a must for all arrivals, in next Covid chapter

    Since early May, an average of five to 10 Cambodian people have died from Covid-19 a day with many others testing positive amid the ongoing community outbreak. At the same time, however, hundreds of patients also recovered a day. The first Covid-19 case in Cambodia was

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • First commercial gold mine online

    Australian miner Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd on June 21 began the commercial operation of its $120 million Okvau Gold Project in the northeastern province of Mondulkiri, becoming the Kingdom’s first gold producer. Located in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district, the

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • Transport minister requests free trial of Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway

    The Ministry of Public Works and Transport held discussions with the company constructing the expressway from Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk province to allow drivers to test the road free of charge before an official toll is set. While inspecting the progress of its construction