THAP Rachana - Making Our Ocean Great Again

Oct 31, 2020

Marine Conservation Cambodia (MCC)

My name is Rachana Thap and I am now the Executive Director of MCC. I started out doing an internship at MCC. My project was called “Artificial Reef for Enhancing Marine Biodiversity in Koh Seh, Kep Province, Cambodia'' which entailed having to stay on the island for about 5 months. “Well, life on the island isn’t going to be easy, city girl (that’s what most people said).” But who would know, that was how I found my purpose. More importantly, living in Koh Seh for 5 months has totally changed my perspective of living and awakened me real hard out of not knowing the importance of the ocean. I then came to realize everyone’s small actions do matter and affect the ocean differently. So I decided to return to MCC and begin the work for my ocean.

What is Marine Conservation Cambodia (MCC)? And what is MCC currently working on?

Marine Conservation Cambodia is the first organization to actively work on the ground to tackle  marine conservation issues in Cambodia. MCC’s efforts have focused on protecting threatened marine ecosystems and restoring them to a healthy and thriving level; supporting and empowering small-scale fishing communities who rely upon local marine resources for their food and livelihoods; creating opportunities for any Cambodian, young or old, to learn and be involved in the protection of our ocean; engaging with local, regional and national levels of government in the development of sustainable fisheries and the implementation of best practice regulations for Cambodia’s Marine Fisheries Management Areas (MFMAs). The main SDGs of MCC works are SDGs number 13 and 14, which are about saving life underwater and working together for the betterment of our ocean and climate.

I hope what I’m doing will be the voice for those who cannot see and for those who could not speak. I will use all my capabilities and knowledge to bring about change and promote the concept of “The sea is my culture.”

What motivates me to stay on the island?

Because I’ve seen tears, pains and anger of those who have sacrificed so much for their ocean. Their love and passion are unbreakable. And that’s what motivates me but at the same time, it gives me fear. The fear of not doing enough for the ocean and the fear that my next generations won’t be able to breathe good air. Those fearful scenarios are the big motivators. 


What impact have you had?

  1. 12 years of work in marine conservation in Cambodia
  2. 2 first Marine Fisheries Management Area (MFMA, Cambodian equivalent to Marine Protected Area) created with the Royal government of Cambodia;
  3. 11,354 hectares of Marine ecosystem protected together with the Cambodian government and the fishing communities
  4. 1st Mission Blue Hope Spot in Cambodia designated by Sylvia Earle in Recognition of Protecting Cambodia’s Endangered Marine Ecosystems
  5. 1st Important Marine Mammal Area in Cambodia
  6. More than 100 marine species added to world database for Cambodia
  7. Seahorses conservation status updated from Vulnerable to Endangered in Cambodia thanks to MCC actions.
  8. Over 160 Conservation and Anti-Trawling structures deployed to protect and restore Kep Archipelago marine ecosystems and local fishing communities’ livelihood
  9. More than 900 hectares of seagrass meadows protected in Kep Archipelago
  10. 32 Irrawaddy dolphin individuals identified

How can everyone be involved with MCC?

Everyone can be a member of the MCC family by volunteering at MCC. They can also help from afar by spreading awareness and knowledge about the ocean, reduce the use of plastics and more importantly, don’t support any marines souvenirs without knowing its resources. 


Dream for 2030 is humans being one with the ocean. I believe small action matters and I believe my action and passion towards the ocean will inspire at least 10 out of thousands. “Nothing is impossible with a willing heart.” 

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