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Push for mangrove restoration in Kampot

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Children plant trees as part of the campaign. Facebook

Civil society organisations along with local authorities in Kampot province have kick-started a campaign to plant 100,000 mangrove trees in eight communities in the province throughout September to December.

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The campaign was jointly organised between ActionAid, Children and Women Development Centre in Cambodia, Samaky Organisation, Kampot Fisheries Administration and local communities.

Ouk Angkim, Samaky Organisation director, on Sunday said that the campaign aimed to conserve mangroves and protect mangrove forests from encroachment, increase animal habitats as well as reduce the impact of climate change.

He added that mangroves play an important role in maintaining the coastal ecosystem, including by absorbing carbon dioxide.

“So, the campaign to plant mangroves is to prevent natural disasters and to protect mangrove forests, which also supports the livelihoods of fishermen in the area since mangroves are also a habitat for fish, crab and shrimp,” Mr Angkim said. “In addition, mangroves also promote the growth of sea grass and coral reefs, which are important to biodiversity.”

He said the eight fishing communities where the mangroves will be planted on include Trapaing Sangke, Trapaing Ropov, Kampong Samaky, Prek Tnaot, Kep Thmey, Toteoung Thngai, Koh Krus Sna, and Lok communities.

Tith Rin, Trapain Ropov fishing community head, on Sunday said that the campaign will increase mangrove cover in the community, as well as increase fishing yields, protect community land and increase tourism to mangrove forests.

“Our fishing community, which consists of more than 1,000 families, everyday depend on fishing, including catching crab, shrimps and cockle shells,” Mr Rin said. “And we also have mangrove saplings to sell to tourists who want to plant mangroves in our community, so our community can earn from both fishing and tourism.”

According to a 2018 Kampot Fisheries Administration report, there are 1,966 hectares of mangrove forests and 953 hectares of coral reef in the province.

Sar Sorin, Kampot provincial fisheries administration chief, said there are about 3,000 to 3,500 families of fishermen in the province earning between 50,000 riel (about $12.5) and 700,000 riel ($175) per day.

“Normally, a fisherman can earn between 50,000 riel and 100,000 riel per day, and for those who use fishing nets to catch crabs can earn between 200,000 riel and 300,000 riel,” Mr Sorin said. “And for those who catch shrimp can earn between 400,000 and 700,000 riel.”

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Defence Minister General Tea Banh, Environment Minister Say Samal, and Siem Reap provincial authorities, planted 17,179 tree saplings in Preah Chey Varaman-Norodom National Park to restore forest cover in the area, as well as increase natural resources and reduce climate change.

In the ceremony, Gen Banh also encouraged local communities to participate in reforestation and strengthen the sustainable management of natural resources, including to prevent forest land encroachment and animal poaching.

“The people, please participate to restore forests in protected areas and contribute to reducing climate change in the region and the world,” he said.

“The community especially have to create ecotourism areas, provide tourism services in order to better promote the living conditions of families and community development,” Gen Banh said.

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