Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said he has rejected proposals for investment in seaweed plantations in Preah Sihanouk and Kep provinces.
Speaking at the National Forum on Protection and Conservation of Natural Resources at the Peace Palace, Hun Sen did not identify the companies, or which countries they came from, but said he does not want seaweed plantation investment.
“I am very suspicious about these seaweed plantations,” Hun Sen said, noting that the company could be using the ocean plantation as cover to search for oil. “I always wonder why they prefer only the Cambodian sea? Why do they not plant seaweed in their own country; what is their purpose?”
Hun Sen did not identify the investors or their country of origin, but noted that “the ocean in its country is larger than Cambodia’s”. The premier added that such plantations would affect local fishermen and boating tours, so he must reject such proposals to protect local business interests.
Changing subjects but remaining focused on the same provinces, Hun Sen ordered the Land Management Ministry to take action against coastal land grabbing.
Earlier during the forum, Sok Sokhom, director of the Cambodian National Research Organisation, told Hun Sen that mangrove trees are harmed by coastal land grabbers, and asked him to strictly take action against them. Sokhom said some people were clearing mangrove trees and occupying land based on invalid land titles.
Sokhom noted that there were 32 invalid land titles being disputed in Kep, Preah Sihanouk, and Koh Kong provinces, covering about 200 hectares that the government must take ownership of as state land. Hun Sen then ordered Land Management Minister Chea Sophara to check on and take action over the coastal land grabs, and removal of mangrove trees in the coastal provinces.
This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.