Case Study: Getting SMART in an MPA in Cambodia

SMART Cambodia

In 2016, Cambodia reached a landmark for marine conservation when a 405 km2 Marine Fisheries Management Area (MFMA) was declared,  creating the country’s first large marine protected area. This was also the first marine site in Southeast Asia to implement fully-operational SMART methods.

In this talk, Kate West, Manager of the Marine Conservation Group at Wildlabs, shares her key lessons learnt from implementing SMART in a marine context and dives into the limitations and considerations to be taken into account when implementing the SMART approach.

This is a valuable talk for any team considering deploying SMART in a marine context.

Landmark Protection

In 2016, Cambodia reached a landmark for marine conservation when the Minister of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries signed a proclamation declaring a 405 km2 Marine Fisheries Management Area (MFMA) around the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem, creating the country’s first large-scale marine protection.

The Fisheries Administration and conservation organisations had been working tirelessly for more than five years within the archipelago to consult with local stakeholders and communities and gather baseline data about the area’s biodiversity to support the designation of the site.

Fauna & Flora International and other organisations including Song Saa Foundation and Save Cambodian Marine Life also played an important part in protecting the site and supporting the designation of the MFMA.

SMART Results

The results of these efforts have been impressive; community fishery patrols have received support and innovative techniques have been employed. These include the use of drones for habitat monitoring and the introduction of the Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool [SMART).

This was the first marine site in Southeast Asia to implement fully-operational SMART methods, and it has changed the face of marine conservation research and management in the country. Using the tool, the Community Fisheries have been able to collect and record patrol data, and analyse these to identify hotspots of illegal activity and patrol activity patterns.

In turn, this information is being used by the Fisheries Administration to make more effective management decisions. The Koh Rong Archipelago’s implementation of SMART is a good example of meaningful conservation management.

It is an effective technique for locally-led fisheries patrols and management and, because it was in place before the declaration of the MFMA, it can be used as a basis for comparison, allowing evaluation of the effectiveness of conservation work in this protected area.

Watch and Read

Visit Wildlabs to view the video and transcript of the talk – including the key considerations teams looking to implement SMART should take into account in planning projects, and limitations teams should be aware of.

Tags: , , , , , ,