For the first time, a marine park will be created in Preah Sihanouk province to manage and protect the natural resources of the region.
The initiative comes from the Ministry of Environment. Environment Minister Say Samal said this followed the creation of Koh Rong National Park, alongside which the marine sanctuary will be created.
“The ministry has been looking for partnership possibilities to develop human resources, such as researchers and scientists to set boundaries and plan the protection of underwater biodiversity, as well as strengthen the capacity of rangers to protect the marine park,” he said.
Mr Samal listed the many natural resources of the marine park, such as coral reefs, sea grass, mangrove forests, numerous species of fish, and hopefully a return of the dolphins who have been endangered.
Country director of Fauna and Flora International Ahab Downer supports the ministry’s initiative, while his organisation is cooperating with relevant institutions to set up a marine conservatory in Koh Rong province.
In June 2016, the government decided to establish a Marine Fisheries Management Area around the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem.
The Ministry of Agriculture stated that the establishment of the site was aimed at protecting, preserving and using marine fisheries sustainably in accordance with national fisheries policy as well as increasing people’s revenue.
So far, the Ministry of Environment has created 49 protected areas as well as biodiversity conservation corridors, covering roughly 41 percent of the country’s total land area. The ministry also plans to create six additional protected areas in Preah Vihear, Battambang, Kratie, Kampong Chhang, and Bantey Meanchey provinces.