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Cambodia is one of the most biodiverse countries in south-east Asia. Its coastline runs between Vietnam and Thailand and includes 69 different islands within the Gulf of Thailand. These islands are surrounded by coral reefs, sea grass meadows and mangrove forests and are some of the least researched habitats in the region. Home to spectacular marine habitats, perfect for observing a wide range of underwater life including seahorses, nudibranchs and turtles.
Coral Cay has been working in Cambodia since 2009 when it engaged in a two-year scientific survey programme to map the marine resources around the tropical islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem in the Gulf of Thailand. This project is now continuing its marine conservation efforts, working closely with the Fisheries Administration of the Royal Government of Cambodia, project partners and local stakeholders, to assist in the implementation of Cambodia’s first well managed Marine Protected Area around the islands.
The managed area will be around 300km2 and include a wide diversity of habitats including coral reefs, mangrove forests and seagrass beds in addition to the upland rainforests found on both islands. Using Coral Cay’s scientific survey results, a zonation scheme will be implemented to include several conservation, recreation and sustainable fisheries zones.
The three year project is receiving funding from the Blue Moon Fund in addition to further support from our in-country project partners, Fauna and Flora International. The next steps are to continue to monitor the marine habitats and work closely with local partners, communities and the private sector to ensure that a consensus is reached to support different conservation management zones and encourage the development of low-impact tourism initiatives. We also work closely with the Royal University of Phnom Penh, providing scholarship opportunities to university students as well as marine ecology lectures at the university.
This is your chance to get involved and really make a difference
helping to protect this idyllic paradise!
Coral Cay’s conservation projects are run with the help of local and international expedition staff, international volunteers and research scientists. Coral Cay have expedition start dates every four weeks so there is a regular influx of new volunteers each month, enabling Coral Cay to carry out its research year round1.
Coral Cay’s project site is located in Prek Svey a small coastal village untouched by tourism on the island of Koh Rong, 22km off the coast of Sihanoukville, southern Cambodia. The expedition team is based in a simple rustic building within the village.
Coral Cay welcomes volunteers from all backgrounds and nationalities and individuals do not need to have any previous diving or science related knowledge to join an expedition as all of the necessary training is completed during the expedition.
Individuals booking on will need to be a minimum of 18 years of age but we are able to take on under 18’s if they join an expedition as part of a school or university group. See here for information on our schools programme.
We are also able to assist under/post graduate students who wish to conduct research projects in conjunction with their Coral Cay expedition. Please see here for more information.
As part of the expedition, volunteers will undergo a comprehensive training package which will include a two week Skills Development Programme and dive training if applicable. Please see here for an explanation of the training involved on a Coral Cay expedition.
What do past volunteers have to say about their experience with Coral Cay?
"I never thought I would learn as much about the oceans, environment, conservation, diving, people and culture. The excitement of diving with the reward of surveying has made me passionate about the oceans. I will definitely be pursuing conservation further at university and in my career"
Kirsty Brown, Cambodia volunteer, 2011.
See here for more diary entries from past volunteers, local scholars and expedition staff to get an insider’s view
on a Coral Cay experience.
Download further information
We have put together a Cambodia Project Summary and Marine Expedition Guide which will help to give volunteers a flavour of what they can expect from their expedition, including specific details of the project site itself to an overview of daily life on a Coral Cay project site.
Download our guides here.
Expedition costs & dates
Volunteers can choose the length of time they wish to spend on expedition with Coral Cay ranging from two2 weeks up to six months! As such Coral Cay work on a weekly pricing scale, which means that the longer you stay the cheaper it is per week.
To enable us to carry out our research all year round, expeditions have start dates every four weeks, so volunteers can choose the most convenient time of year to come and join us. Be it as part of your holiday leave from work or as part of a gap year adventure.
Please see here for more information on expedition costs, what is and isn’t included and expedition start dates.
Before booking please consider the following points:
1: Coral Cay’s project sites are closed for two weeks over the Christmas period.
2: Volunteers joining a Coral Cay expedition for a two week period may not complete their skills development programme and may not get the opportunity to carry out any marine surveys.
Your flight will be the biggest environmental impact of the expedition. For example, in flying to Cambodia from the UK, you will be responsible for releasing approximately 3.63 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the main gas responsible for global warming. CCC has teamed up with Rainforest Concern to try and help repair your flight's contribution to global warming. You now have the option to reduce your emissions by the same amount as the flight creates, making your flights 'climate neutral'.
CCC also offsets all of the emissions from the flights that our staff take on company business. By offsetting the CO2 emissions from our air travel you can be sure our recce’s aren’t adding to global warming. We operate as close to a “paperless” office as possible and send the majority of our paperwork via email. This also helps to keep the costs of our programmes to a minimum.
The Rainforest Concern Forest Credits system gives instant calculations allowing you to see the cost and emissions in real time. More importantly the money raised goes directly to help Rainforest Concern projects. Rainforest Concern is a Registered Charity in the UK, established to protect threatened natural habitats and the biodiversity they contain, together with the indigenous people who still depend on them for survival.
Should you wish to offset your carbon footprint, please click here.