Understanding the Need for Preserving Cambodia’s Diverse Coral Reef Habitats
Cambodia is one of the few countries in the world that nature has endowed with a truly amazing gift: a rich marine life stretching across hundreds of miles along the mainland’s coast and around the roughly 69 islands that surround the region.
What’s even more impressive, however, is the rich variety of coral reefs that can be found in the area. Cambodia boasts many of the world’s rarest and most beautiful corals, some of which are also classified as being “at risk” mainly due to continuing fishing pressures and developing infrastructure – especially along the coastline.
One of the Most Diverse Marine Habitats
Cambodia’s coral reefs are distributed along the shoreline (measuring about 435 km in length) and around the islands surrounding the mainland. Despite the fact that not many people in Cambodia are yet aware of the rich coral populations that can be found in the country’s main waters, there are a huge variety of coral species that have been found here.
Among them have been counted 111 hard coral species, 17 species of soft coral and 9 species of various seafans and seawhips. The corals that can still be found along the shoreline are considered in good condition, although their coverage ranges from about 23 to 58%.
Coral Reef Conservation Efforts
The numbers shown above are not at all encouraging when evaluating the long term potential for survival of the coral reef species found in Cambodian waters.
Experts consider that the country could be stripped of its coral treasures in as little as 10 years due to increased tourism and fishing. Conservation efforts are already in place to help avoid this outcome through raising awareness about, monitoring and zoning coral reef areas.