Fishers left with no land, no fish, in fire sale of Cambodian coast

Coastal communities in Cambodia are facing a double threat, from land and sea, as developers evict them from their homes and farms, and trawlers encroach on their nearshore fishing grounds.

By 11 a.m., the sun was already beating down on Daem Thkov. The chatter of tourists on the nearby beach floated on the gentle sea breeze through the fishing village on the Cambodian island of Koh Rong.

But behind the tranquil scenes of turquoise waters, white sands and morning cocktails, an uncertainty has gripped those who call Daem Thkov home.

What the tourists sipping cocktails on the beach that morning were likely unaware of is that almost the entirety of Koh Rong has been leased out to one of the country’s most powerful and notorious conglomerates. Royal Group’s project throws into question the protection conferred upon the island by Koh Rong Marine National Park and leaves residents doubting their future on the island in the face of the $300 million tourism development.

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