Cambodia to get its first Marine Protected Area

06 Aug 2012  2764 | Cambodia Travel News

The coastline of Cambodia, running from Vietnam to Thailand, is soon to become a marine protected area, as announced by the British NGO Coral Cay in July.

The organization, which started working in Cambodia in 2009, is now working closely with the Cambodian government to implement a protected area.

The 69 islands that make up this part of Cambodia's coastline are surrounded by coral reefs and sea grass meadows and are home to marine creatures such as seahorses and turtles. The project, which will ultimately cover an area of 300 square km when it's completed in three years' time, will include conservation, recreation and sustainable fisheries areas.

Jan-Willem van Bochove, Head of Science at Coral Cay Conservation, told Relaxnews that "the establishment of a multiple-use zonation plan would certainly help support sustainable eco-tourism to the area by having clear recreational and other zones. "If well managed, it is estimated that some of these activities could generate 1.2 million dollars in turnover."

In the past years, Coral Cay has identified key areas of coral reef biodiversity that will be part of the program. The three-year program will help to monitor the marine habitats as well as to develop low-impact tourism initiatives and will also help to ensure support for different conservation management zones. The program is funded by Blue Moon Fund and Flora & Fauna international.

Tourism in Cambodia

In 2011, more than 2.8 million tourist arrivals were registered in Cambodia mainly from Vietnam (614,000), Korea (340,000), China (247,000), and the US (153,000). The most visited places in Cambodia include Angkor Archaeological Park with its Temple of Angkor and the Bayon Temple. Unlike its neighbor Thailand, beaches in Cambodia only attract around 10 percent of the total of tourists each year.