Guidance issued for protecting Kingdom’s marine life

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The Fisheries Administration and Fauna and Flora International last week issued a 10-point guideline on how to protect the Kingdom’s marine ecosystem. Fauna and Flora International

A fisheries Conservation Department official on Monday reiterated a recently issued 10-point guideline on protecting the Kingdom’s marine life for visitors to Cambodia’s coastline.

The Fisheries Administration and Fauna and Flora International (FFI) last week issued the 10-point guideline intended for international tourists and Cambodians, including fishermen, on how to protect the Kingdom’s marine ecosystem.

The guidance included not stepping on, buying or collecting coral, not spearfishing and not throwing litter into the sea.

Fisheries Conservation Department director Ouk Vibol told The Post on Monday that in recent years, the number of national and international tourists visiting Cambodian coastal areas had increased considerably.

As a result, plastic waste on beaches and the trapping of sea life has also considerably increased, he said.

“The 10-point guideline bans stepping or dropping anchors on coral reefs, catching and trading all kinds of coral, especially in coastal protection and resource management areas, because they take hundreds of years to grow. Do not touch sea creatures such as sea urchins, sea turtles and jellyfish.

“Swimming nearby or catching and trading in rare and endangered species, such as whale sharks, is banned absolutely. The use of tools to shoot fish, littering rubbish and other waste, especially plastic waste, in the coastal area and the coastal resource protection area is also banned,” he said.

The Fisheries Administration has designated seven locations as coastal protection and resource management areas in Kep, Pursat, Kampot, Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong provinces. These areas are under joint management by the Ministry of Environment and Fisheries Administration officials.

The Law of the Sea Convention requires a precautionary approach that takes into account the consequences of any activities that could compromise the health and functioning of ocean ecosystems.

A recently published FFI report stated that living creatures found in the sea are essential for maintaining healthy marine ecosystems that support all life on earth.

“Compromising healthy marine ecosystems would have devastating consequences for the planet and all life on it, including human life,” the report said.

The sea produces more than 50 per cent of the world’s oxygen through marine photosynthesisers like phytoplankton and seaweed, and it absorbs as much as 85 per cent of anthropogenic carbon emissions, while around the world, sea creatures provide more than 60 per cent of essential protein for around one billion people.