The National Committee for Maritime Security and Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities yesterday called on the public to help protect whale sharks and dolphins present in waters surrounding Sihanoukville’s Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem islands.
Vice Admiral Tea Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Navy and chief of NCMS, said whale sharks and dolphins are gentle creatures. V-adm Sokha said a whale shark found in the area is five metres in length and will not hurt people.
He said that the committee has also seen the presence of more than 100 dolphins, noting that conservation efforts are needed from the public.
“I would like to appeal to citizens, fishermen and tourists to avoid coming in contact with whale sharks and dolphins,” V-adm Sokha said. “Please do not place fishing nets in the area because they could affect these gentle creatures. These creatures help coral reefs and other natural resources be better.”
Nen Chamroeun, chief of the provincial agriculture, forestry, and fisheries department, yesterday said that over the weekend the islands were blessed with the presence of two extra whale sharks.
“Usually there’s only one, but now we see a big one and two smaller whale sharks,” Mr Chamroeun said. “It’s a good sign for our ocean and for a tourist attraction.”
However, he noted that tourists should avoid touching or playing with whale sharks.
According to V-adm Sokha, about ten whale sharks were spotted within the Kingdom’s maritime borders a few years ago, but not many have been seen recently.
People are now reporting sightings of whale sharks off Koh Rong, Koh Rong Samloem and Koh Pring islands.