Marine Conservation Cambodia
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MCC has been protecting Cambodia’s ocean since 2008. We were the first organization to actively work on the ground on marine conservation in Cambodia. After helping to establish a Marine Fisheries Management Area (MFMA) and being joined on site by other organizations, we were invited by the Cambodian Government to locate to the wild East coast of Cambodia where no conservation work was being done and protection was deeply needed. Since we arrived in 2013,we have seen incredible changes. Marine life is returning faster than we could have dreamed. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by a unique marine environment which includes the largest abundance of seahorses in Cambodia, formerly one of the largest seagrass beds of South-East Asia and fringing coral reefs. These ecosystems are fragile and face a lot of anthropogenic pressures. A lack of knowledge on the state of the marine environment has long impeded responsible management of the area. MCC are creating baseline information for the marine ecosystem in Kep. We also have a long-lasting collaboration with small-scale fishers which has helped provide us with an awareness of the most pressing local issues impacting the fishers and the marine environment. This partnership helps us to work towards ensuring a long-term sustainable livelihood for these local fishers.
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Our practical focus includes regular night patrols and direct action that have dramatically reduced illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in Kep Archipelago. These watches are part of our robust and long-time collaboration with the Fisheries department. Furthermore, our team of professional surveyor provides training on underwater survey techniques for our staff. After this preparation, they both regularly monitor the state of the ecosystem, the destructive impacts of illegal fishing and the positive effects of our conservation efforts. We are notably pioneering about seahorses surveying and protection. Our researches, supported by Project Seahorse and Seahorse Trust, lead the Cambodian government to place the seahorse on its endangered species list (CITES). We have designed a unique, robust, permanent, cost effective, adaptable, multiple purpose artificial reef which snags and entangles bottom trawling boards and nets, immediately reducing and eventually preventing the illegal and destructive bottom trawl fishery in the Kep Archipelago. This structure also acts as an artificial marine ecosystem/reef, creating complex and diverse habitat for various important marine resources such as the world famous Kep blue swimmer crab. Moreover, the multi-use of the design will allow us to seed and recruits bivalves on those structures which will filter and greatly improve the water quality.
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