Marine habitat mapping to support the use of conservation and anti-trawl structures in Kep Province, Cambodia

J. A. Strong, C. Wardell, A. Haïssoune, A. L. Jones, L. Coals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The marine habitats within the Kep Archipelago, Cambodia, support species of conservation importance and commercial value. Despite the area being designated a Marine Fisheries Management Area (equivalent to a Marine Protected Area locally), illegal trawling has continued to damage vulnerable habitats within the region. To augment the protection of the designated area, Conservation and Anti Trawl Structures (CATS) have been deployed locally. These structures can snare the nets of illegal trawlers and provide a hard substratum for coral colonization. A sidescan sonar survey and ground truthing campaign was used to precisely locate the 40 CATS deployed and produce maps of the important benthic habitats in the area. Due to the challenging coastal environment and minimal available infrastructure, this study used small, rechargeable or low-power (12 V), and low-cost habitat mapping equipment to map the approximate extent of several benthic habitats of conservation interest. The area and type of habitat protected by CATS has been estimated by combining the marine habitat map with the precise locations of the deployed CATS. It is hoped that this information will help inform local management decisions, such as optimizing the placement of future CATS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2197-2209
Number of pages13
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


  • anti-trawl devices
  • Cambodia
  • marine habitat mapping
  • seabed defence
  • seagrass


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