Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry: Protect marine life

Ministry: Protect marine life

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sihanoukville’s Ochheuteal beachside in 2018. Heng Chivoan

Ministry: Protect marine life

The Ministry of Environment on Tuesday urged relevant public and private sector stakeholders to jointly preserve the Kingdom’s marine biodiversity for the sake of sustainable development.

The appeal came as the ministry announced the establishment of the Koh Rong Marine National Park in Preah Sihanouk province which followed rapid encroachment on natural resources in the coastal areas.

Speaking at a workshop under the theme Conservation of Marine and Coastal Biodiversity through Designation of Marine National Park in Preah Sihanouk province on Tuesday, the ministry’s under-secretary of state South Ya said marine resources have contributed significantly to social and economic development.

He cited as an example the potential of eco-tourism on which the local communities rely.

“To preserve biodiversity and the ecological system as a whole, the ministry has conducted research and prepared strategic plans for its protection in conjunction with relevant stakeholders,” he said.

Ya said the Kingdom’s coast stretches from the Cham Yeam international checkpoint near the Thai border to the Prek Chak international checkpoint on the Vietnamese border.

It spans four provinces – Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Kampot and Kep – with around two million people living and benefiting from fishing, farming and tourism.

Lou Vanny, the country coordinator for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said his conservation NGO supports the Ministry of Environment in protecting biodiversity and marine national parks in the Kingdom.

“We are assisting [the ministry] in . . . making a huge banner to inform the public on the designation of the Koh Rong area as a national park area so stakeholders such as the local communities can join conservation efforts there,” he said.

Vanny said the government has designated many protected areas, but Koh Rong island is the Kingdom’s first marine national park, spanning 50,000ha.

Sok Sokhom, the director of the NGO Cambodian National Research Organisation (CNRO), said authorities have not done enough to protect natural resources in coastal areas.

“We have seen that law enforcement by local authorities seems to be inadequate at the moment . . . Natural resource destruction is like self-destruction so the authorities must follow government guidelines."

“Law enforcement should apply to everyone, not only to ordinary people while the rich and powerful can fill up beaches and destroy natural resources without punishment,” he said.

Sokhom pointed out that the authorities have so far failed to take effective measures against individuals who had encroached coastal areas.

“The authorities merely make offenders promise in writing not to repeat the offences, so the encroachment persists and [beaches] that have been filled up have not been restored,” he said.

The tourism department director, Taing Sochet Kresna, supports the ministry’s appeal for joint marine resource protection.

“We’ve cooperated with the provincial environment department and authorities to preserve natural resources,” he said, adding that his officials are preparing guidelines focusing on environment and sanitation-related education.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement