Marine Conservation Cambodia:
Protecting Kep Archipelago from Illegal Fishing
The islands that make up the Kep Archipelago off the coast of Cambodia are known for their tranquil waters and are home to the country’s largest concentration of seahorses. However, illegal and destructive fishing has pushed this ecosystem to the brink of collapse.
With support from the Waitt Foundation, Marine Conservation Cambodia (MCC) deployed 180 conservation and anti-trawling structures (CANTS) with three functions: prevent illegal and destructive trawling, mark the boundaries of the second Marine Fisheries Management Area (MFMA) in Cambodia, and act as a marine life aggregation device or artificial reef. Since deploying these structures, MCC has witnessed trapped illegal fishing vessels and entangled trawling nets while inspecting the structures underwater. These anti-trawling structures are more important than ever in protecting Kep’s waters since law enforcement authorities are unable to patrol frequently.
Additionally, MCC has successfully demarcated the main strategic zones of Kep Archipelago, protecting the most damaged area of the MFMA and obstructing the main trawling routes. They fenced off a large part of the protected area to hinder and deter destructive IUU fishing activities.