Marine Conservation Cambodia is devoted to protecting and conserving Cambodia's marine environment and the livelihoods of the island communities that rely on its resources. With project bases on both Koh Rong Samloem and Koh Rong Islands we cover some of the most diverse and important marine environments in Cambodia.
Founded in early 2008, Marine Conservation Cambodia has commited itself to the comprehensive protection and research of Cambodia's marine environments, we assist both local communities in the sustainable use of their marine resources and work closely together with the Royal Government of Cambodia's Fisheries Administration to create local community networks that make and maintain changes protecting the marine environments around the islands thus simultaneously improving the livelihoods of the surrounding coastal communities. We are the longest running and most successful marine conservation project in Cambodia.
...We focus on
The importance of Cambodia's Marine Environment
A healthy environment is crucial to all future generations. Moreover, maintaining its health can be realized by creating continued livelihoods and stable food stocks for local communities. Local communities are at the very heart of our movement, Teaching the communities to monitor and establish community management plans, helping communities to understand the importance of conserving their natural resources, increasing livelihoods and standards of living through empowerment and knowledge while assisting the communities to develop their own ideas and business plans towards sustainable tourism. All the time bringing coastal Island communities together in protecting their ocean and their way of life.
...Research and Protection
Our Marine research coordinators and volunteer scuba diving teams regularly monitor selected marine ecosystems within Cambodia's coastal areas this provides us with information on the health status of the Cambodia's Coral Reefs and other sensitive Marine Environments, including the Seahorse breeding grounds located around the Islands of Koh Rong Samloem and Koh Rong this includes the diversity and abundance of marine species seen around Cambodia's Coastal Islands. All collected data is shared with the local and national fisheries administration to support their needs in decision making with regards to conservation strategy. We address the accelerating development on the islands and coastal mainland by conducting marine and demographic assessments and working closely with local communities to find out their needs. Together with the local communities and relevent government departments we reduce the negative impacts on cambodia's reefs and marine ecosystems.
... The community
Mai Pei Mai Community has been one of the most important aspects of our volunteer project so far, without their support the protection of the area around our project base could not have happened, we focus on ways to help improve livelihoods within the community, ways to improve infrastructure, waste-management, education and healthcare. As the community has become more involved in the project so have the opportunities for the project to improve overall living conditions for the people living in Mai Pei Mai.
Marine Conservation Cambodia has assisted Mei Pai Bei in becoming a model fisheries community that is now used as a template for future fisheries communities located in coastal Cambodia.
... The children
Are the future and also the key to continued protection and conservation.
Our team teaches the volunteers how to run environmental awareness programs for the local children such as the participation in beach cleanups and educational workshops that help in creating hope, pride and a feeling of responsibility. All this goes along way in establishing a long term plan of marine conservation, eco-tourism and a sustainable better quality of life. Our english lessons run 5 days a week for the local children on Koh Rong Samloem and are developed to fit around the children's family chores and Khmer lessons.
... Changing times
Increased tourism and development is both an opportunity and a threat to the marine biodiversity. Increased tourism means that there will be more vessels looking for a place to anchor and more people entering the sensitive marine habitats. Uncontrolled anchoring by these vessels seriously damages the coral reefs and marine habitats, the increase in development and the increasing numbers of tourists interferes with the natural balance of the marine ecosystem. Proper guidlines will benefit all. With a good ethical code in place the increase in tourism can benefit both the local communities and Cambodia as a whole. Through true sustainable eco-tourism and continued education many negative impacts can be avoided and the local communities can benefit from the development of true eco-tourism. Marine Conservation Cambodia is supporting the creation of TUF's (Tourism user fees) that will be implemented to help create sustainable financing for protected areas and integrated coastal management projects.
Bottom trawling nets are responisble for much of the degradation of Cambodia's Marine Environment. Coral reefs are smothered by the sedimentation that clouds the waters, endangered species of seahorses are caught as bi-catch. When used illegally these types of fishing gears can destroy sensitive eco-systems in a matter of minutes. To tackle this, physical barriers on the sea bottom are ideal to protect these habitats and breeding grounds from destruction, whilst providing shelter for marine life and have potential for hosting coral formations.
If the pattern of non-sustainable fisheries amongst other human threats continues, the continued decline of Cambodia's marine resources is inevitable. This is where our team takes action.
...What we do
We decrease the negative impacts on Cambodia's marine environment.
We assist in the implementation of co-management between local communities and national/ provincial Fisheries Administration
We help small-scale fishers and their families in improved and alternative livelihoods.
We improve fisheries and coastal information bases and communication channels.
We train local and national officials and community members in co-management and environmental responsibilities
We create Fisheries management plans for the improvement of habitat management, law enforcement and monitoring of fisheries resources.
We run a fully operational research facility focusing all aspects of marine research, but specialising on Cambodia's Seahorses