Coral comeback? Signs of recovery for Cambodia’s first marine protected area

2020 marks four years since Cambodia’s government took a crucial step towards protecting the country’s coral reefs, seagrass and coastal fisheries by establishing its first marine protected area (MPA) in the picturesque Koh Rong Archipelago.

Central to this achievement were intensive consultations and surveys by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and government partners, ensuring that social, economic and ecological concerns were incorporated into the final protected area design. Creating the new MPA was, however, just the first step, and after four years of locally led management there are critical questions to ask, such as: what effect have these measures had on the Koh Rong marine ecosystem; and are populations of key fish species recovering? In April 2019, a survey team from FFI, alongside local partners Song Saa Foundation and Kuda Divers, dove into the archipelago’s deep, blue waters to find the answer.

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