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Threats - Reefs At Risk

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1 . Cambodia View Statistics View Map Online GIS     Cambodia
Information on the distribution and condition of Cambodia's coral reefs is still very limited. Most corals are found on rocky bases and a few are organized into fringing reef formations. Surveys on Koh Tang, one of the 52 islands offshore of Cambodia, indicate 70 species of coral from 33 genera.98 Islands farther inshore generally support lower diversity because of turbid waters unfavorable for coral growth. Cambodia has relatively limited coral reef areas, estimated by the RRSEA study to be under 50 km².

Cambodia's coral reefs have been subject to a variety of human pressures, particularly those related to unsustainable fishing practices and poor land management. Blast fishing has been reported, and fishers have depleted lucrative commercial fish.99 Overfishing and illegal fishing from foreign vessels are thought to be a problem, but statistics are incomplete.

Bleaching from the 1997-98 ENSO event affected Cambodian reefs, with one survey indicating that 80 percent of corals in Sihanoukville bleached during 1998.100 However, national bleaching and coral mortality statistics are not available.

Surveys of coral condition are limited to a few sites within Cambodia. Studies in four locations in Koh Kong province in 2001 found live coral cover ranging from 23 to 42 percent.101

The RRSEA model suggests that all of Cambodia's coral reefs are at high risk from human activities. Overfishing is believed to affect all reefs in Cambodia's waters, and destructive fishing may threaten over one half of the country's reefs. Coastal development, sedimentation, and marine-based pollution are also significant threats.

Management for conservation of coral reefs in Cambodia is still rudimentary. Most laws relate to the protection of fisheries rather than coral reefs. However, the government is making strides in some areas. Coral collection, an important threat from 1995 to 1997, is declining because the Fisheries Department has tightened controls and confiscated coral from vendors.102
Source: Burke, L., E. Selig and M. Spalding , 2002 , Reefs At Risk in Southeast Asia. . World Resources Institute, 72p. (See Document)

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