Official Calls for Protection of Sea Grasses

A government survey of Cam­bodia’s sea coast has uncovered 12 varieties of sea grasses that environmental officials are calling vital for sea life.

The underwater seabeds where the grasses grow must be protected from dredging techniques used by some illegal fishing operations, said Vann Mony Neath, national project manager of Ministry of Environment Coast Marine Resource Department.

“We hope our natural re­sources in the Cambodian sea are not yet seriously damaged,” he said. The beds lie in shallow wa­ters along the entire southern coast, from Koh Kong to Siha­noukville to Kampot and Kep, officials said.They estimate the grasses cover hundreds of hectares.

The survey was supported by the Danish government beginning in early 2001, Vann Mony Neath said. The grasses are im­portant spawning areas for fish and other sea animals and are a beautiful area for visitors, tourists and researchers, he said.

This is the first government survey of the grasses, Vann Mony Neath said. It is also the first time Cambodians have learned about their own coast, rather than the coasts of neighboring countries, which have been the subject of films about the natural world.

“We need to protect our natural resources, because if the sea grasses are destroyed by illegal fishing, it could affect the ecological systems along the coast and cause more problems for marine life,” Vann Mony Neath said.


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