Conservation and Environment in Cambodia: Monthly Updates
Monthly Updates from 2012
This month the volunteers continued to survey seahorse populations, as well as surveying our reef sites. Last month’s reef training really paid off as we were able to repeatedly survey each reef to monitor fish and invertebrate populations as well as reef health. The community fishing area has successfully increased numbers and sizes of fish populations.
Training for seahorse surveys continued, as did identification dives on the reef. 31 seahorse surveys this month alone kept the volunteers very busy and all the trained volunteers helped to train new arrivals in both seahorse and reef surveys. The change in weather this month has opened up some of our favourite dive sites and the volunteers are all keen to get involved.
This month we completed 28 seahorse population assessment surveys. All our new arrivals were trained in seahorse identification and survey methodology. Teaching English continued, as did the work on the community playground. We also begun to research and implement a combined hydroponic and aquaculture system for the project site. Two students from the Royal University of Agriculture Phnom Penh also visited us to assess the feasibility of more aquaculture systems in the village.
During September we completed 27 seahorse population assessment surveys. We had 13 new volunteers certified and trained in seahorse survey methodology and seahorse identification. The volunteers have continued English lessons every day, with a variety of content covered, including music lessons.
This month marked the beginning of our new seahorse survey schedule. We trained each volunteer in seahorse identification and survey methods and completed 8 surveys at randomly selected GPS points. We aim to complete at least a survey a day over the next year. Volunteers were also trained in reef check methodology.
This month was extremely productive, we got to put into practice all the research that was planned and discussed the previous month with experts from the Seahorse Trust and Save Our Seahorses.
June was a very exciting month as we were lucky enough to have two of the UK’s leading seahorse experts come and visit. They offered great insight into the lives and hardships that seahorses face all over the world. The Conservation project here is now taking on much more of a seahorse orientated focus as we have such a unique opportunity here with seahorse populations being so accessible.
This month of May bought with it a little taste of the rainy season, though that didn't stop us from still having a busy and productive month. It was a very training intensive month with volunteers completing their PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses as well as training in reef check methodology.
April was as always a very exciting and unpredictable month. The reason being that Cambodians celebrate Khmer New Year, which is a 3 day national holiday, however, on the island this can often stretch out for over a week.
The month of March was incredibly busy with both positive and negative aspects. On the positive side we saw the return of some very important marine species into the area, improved our reef methodology and another successful games day bought the volunteers and the community together. Not so great was the return of illegal fishing vessels in high numbers, mainly trawling boats. This saw the introduction of a new activity for volunteers - boat watch.
January was a busy month with a high turnover of volunteers. We certified and trained over 25 new volunteers in reef check and seahorse survey methodology. We took advantage of the good weather and kept up village and beach clean ups. We also focused on our composting in an effort to promote sustainable disposal of organic materials.