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In January, the 2nd MFMA of Cambodia was provincially signed, allowing us to start deploying our conservation and anti-trawling structures, and start the on-the-ground implementation.

An MFMA, Marine Fisheries Management Area, is the Cambodian equivalent of a Marine protected area. For those who don't know, let us introduce you to it.

The Kep Archipelago MFMA is an 11 354 ha protected area. It will offer 5 differently managed zones,  designed to protect highly sensitive seagrass meadows and coral reefs from further destruction while preserving the livelihoods of local fishing communities, all of which are suffering due to illegal and destructive fishing activities.

  1. Conservation Area (112ha): Defined as potential area for aquatic animals and aquatic plants to shelter, to spawn, feed, and grow. Fisheries Conservation Areas are strictly prohibiting any activity that has a negative effect on fishery resources, except for permitted scientific research purposes from Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 
  2. Fisheries Refugia (420ha): Defined as specific area for one or more aquatic species in the period of critical life cycle. Fishing and other activities inside fisheries refugias are strictly prohibited during the protected period; however the family fishing activities and other activities, which are not harmful to fisheries resources, are allowed as usual, after the Protected Period. Protected periods will vary in timeframe, and are catered to each Fisheries Refugia in order to reflect the species biology and habitat unique to that area.
  3. Multiple-Use Area (377ha): Identified outside conservation, protection, fisheries community and fisheries refugias. This area allows construction or other activities which is not harmful to fisheries resources and allowed for small scale and medium scale fishing activities, excepted trawling net.
  4. Fisheries Protected Area (10040ha): Defined near or close to fisheries conservation area, in order to secure the sustainability of the fisheries resources. Fisheries Protected Areas can be used for ecotourism activities, family scale fishing or recreational fishing that will not harm coral reef or biological resources.
  5. Recreational and Research Area (405ha):  Defined as an area exclusive to recreational activities and protection of biodiversity resources, ensuring benefit from sustainabe tourism. This area is allowed for recreational diving, snorkeling, and for collecting scientific information and monitoring resources change/trend. All kind of fishing activities are banned inside this area.   MFMA map

To improve the MFMA efficiency, MCC developed the Conservation and anti-trawling structures (CANTS), with four primary functions: (i) prevent illegal and destructive trawling; (ii) improve water quality in the entire Kep Archipelago; (iii) delimit the boundaries of the five different zones of the MFMA; (iv) act as a marine life aggregation device, or artificial reef. 


Thanks to a modular design, the CANTS can be built to different heights at various depths, thus avoiding impacts on regular and legal navigation, while having the potential to enhance and reinvent small-scale fisheries. This system (exclusive to MCC and Cambodia) will provide practical solutions to the inter-linked problems (often tackled in isolation) of poor water quality, collapsing local fisheries, increasingly impoverished communities, lack of marine areas under effective conservation management, and climate change.

MCC will have to deploy 53 of these structures, which represents 1113 concrete blocks! Our team will progressively build it, stock it, and wait for the good conditions to deploy it underwater. 

If you want more informations about the all process, and the story behind this MFMA, don't hesitate to check this crowdfunding page : 

It will explain you, through a short video, why Kep Archipelago desperatly need to be protected, and if you are interested, how you could support us! 


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