Cambodia | Marine Conservation

4 Week Volunteer Adventure | From $1695 USD


Work together with a team of passionate volunteers & marine conservationists as you tackle issues impacting local marine ecosystems around the beautiful islands of Southern Cambodia. Volunteers will perform daily marine research dives  collecting  vital  information  on  reef  ecosystems  and  marine  life  with  a particular emphasis on seahorse populations & breeding behaviour.


Much  of  Cambodia’s  marine  ecosystem  has  been  destroyed  through  illegal fishing  activities  and  years  of  overfishing.  With  the  demand  for  fish  products increasing  so  too  has  the  illegal  fishing  practices.  Fishing  trawlers  from  both Vietnam  &  Cambodia  scrape  the  ocean  floor  with  electrified  nets  with  little regard  for  its  impacts  on  the  environment.  As a result, fish stocks have plummeted and the entire marine ecosystem is on life support. The seahorse population in particular has been reduced to a shadow of its former numbers and have now been placed on the endangered species list. The need for conservationists has never been greater.


The  conservation  has  already  achieved  great  success  in  their  efforts  to reverse the detrimental effects done to marine life as a consequence of these illegal fishing practices. With your help the conservation can continue its work in restoring this once thriving ecosystem back to its former beauty.


The Project

As Cambodia has struggled through its recovery from the Khmer Rouge & into a developing country many aspects of environmental conservation have been overlooked. Corruption & absence of education on fishing impacts has facilitated illegal fishing practices, allowing overfishing to prosper. As a result, the  marine  ecosystem  in  southern  Cambodia  has  been  decimated.  In particular, the local seahorse population has experienced devastating losses. Already an endangered species, these beautiful creatures are at serious risk of being made extinct from our planet.


MyGapYear has partnered with Marine Conservation Cambodia to aid in the rehabilitation  &  reconstruction  of  Cambodia’s  marine  ecosystem.  The conservation works together with volunteers on a number of projects designed to reverse the damage done by human interference, facilitate the repopulation of Cambodia’s Seahorse species and safeguard the future of Cambodia’s marine ecosystem. As a Marine Conservation volunteer you will have the chance to participate in the following activities:


Marine Research Dives

Volunteers at this project will perform dives on a daily basis to aid with surveys being conducted on Natural & Artificial Reef Ecosystems, as well assisting with important research & monitoring of endangered seahorse species. Survey dives involve collecting data on the health status of the reefs and seagrass beds which provide a coastal breeding ground for seahorses and other marine life. The data collected from these surveys will be used to help assess the current status of the MPA (Marine Protected Area), plan and develop new MPAs, as well as educating the communities on what is happening in their waters.





Land-Based Conservation

Marine conservation is as much about the work done out of the water as it is in the water. When not diving Volunteers are tasked with daily beach cleanups, recycling activities & infrastructure development; such as the construction of eco-friendly waste deposit systems. All volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring their conservation ideas to the island.


Educational Awareness

Education is an important part of the conservation process in order for long-term & sustainable change to be achieved. Volunteers will also be asked to organise  conservation  workshops  &  environmental  awareness  programs designed  to  educate  local  communities  on  environmental  impacts  & sustainability  practices.  This  often  includes  teaching  basic  marine conservation practices to a class of of enthusiastic local children.



Role of the Volunteer

Volunteers can expect to take part in some of the following activities:

  • Training in Marine Survey Methodology with a particular focus on Artificial Reefs & endangered seahorses.
  • Open Water Diving & Surveying of natural & artificial reefs along the coastline.
  • Open Water Diving & Surveying of endangered seahorses in key protected areas.
  • Assisting in  underwater  reef  clean-ups  &  reef  conservation management
  • Teaching conservation classes to local children.
  • Monitoring of Coastal Waste Management & assisting in daily beach cleanups.



Typical Day

The following daily schedule serves as a guideline only as itineraries may change to best serve the project.

  • 8.00 AM – 9.00 AM: Breakfast (Included).
  • 9.00 AM – 12.00 PM: Marine diving surveys, including seahorse identification and behaviour, coral & fish biodiversity and habitat & mapping surveys.
  • 12.00 PM – 1.00 PM: One hour break for lunch before work resumes.
  • 1.00 PM – 4.00 PM: Reef cleanups & Artificial Waste Management, as well as land-based activities such as: Coastal Monitoring, Beach Waste Management & Conservation Education Classes.
  • 4.00 PM – 7.00 PM: Time to relax & wind down after a long day of work.
  • 7.00 PM – 10.00 PM: Dinner & free time to socialize with fellow volunteers in the common area.

Need to Know

Age & Required Experiences

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Keen interest in marine conservation & a desire to learn
  • Good for students studying or interested in studying Marine biology
  • PADI Open Water Diving Certificate. *Those who do not have their diving certificate will be required to do upon arrival. Diving certificate not included.


Accommodation & Meals

All  volunteers  stay  at  the  project  site  located  on  Koh  Seh  Island. Accommodation is based in shared bamboo bungalows. Due to the island’s remote location amenities are basic but clean and comfortable. The project site has a large common area for socializing, eating, working & relaxing. The rest of the island is yours to explore. Only those apart of the conservation team are permitted to stay on the island.

Volunteers are provided three meals a day at the project. Meals are freshly prepared by the staff at the project site and are usually a mixture of western & local delicacies. Special considerations can be made for those with strict dietary requirements. Water, Tea & Coffee is provided whilst other beverages are available at your own expense.

Opportunities to return to the mainland during the weekend for recreational time are available at your interest.


PADI Open Water Dive Certificate

Roughly 50% of the work done at the Marine Conservation Project is done whilst scuba diving, including research done on the reef & seahorse survey projects. Thus we require all volunteers to have their PADI Advanced Open Water Diving Certificate. Volunteers who are not yet certified can undertake the appropriate course operated by PADI Instructors whilst at the Marine Program.




Orientation & Support

MyGapYear offers unlimited support prior to departure. Upon receipt of your deposit you will receive your MGY Handbook, which includes comprehensive information on Cambodian customs, culture, what to wear, traditional Khmer meals and important words in the Khmer language.

Project leaders from the Marine Conservation are present to help guide & manage your day-to-day activities and address any concerns you may have. Additionally, MyGapYear offers 24/7 on-call support during your stay to ensure your trip runs smoothly and assistance is available in the event that any issues should arise.



All volunteers must arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport at least the day before the project begins. You will be greeted by a MyGapYear Staff Member at the airport & taken to your accommodation for the first night. The following morning you will be transported to the Marine Conservation office located in Kep. From there you will catch a boat to the island of Koh Seh, where the project is located.


LEARN marine survey methodology with a particular focus on artificial reefs & endangered seahorses.

WORK with one of the most important marine conservation projects anywhere in Asia.

PLUNGE into the emerald waters of Southern Cambodia and scuba dive on beautiful coral reefs while observing stunning marine life unique to this art of the world.

COMBINE your love of island life, beautiful beaches & marine conservation into a volunteer you will never forget.

Adventure Details

LENGTH: 4+ Weeks

START DATES: All year round

PRICE: $1695 USD (Not including PADI Diver Course)

MEALS: 3 meals a day

FLIGHTS: Not included


All accommodation at the Marine Conservation Project

3 meals daily

Airport meet and greet

One night accommodation in Phnom Penh

Transfers to and from project site on Koh Seh

24/7 in-country support

Unlimited pre-departure support

Comprehensive MyGapYear handbook

MyGapYear placement T-shirt

Legitimate, sustainable and safe marine conservation center world renowned for environmental efforts

Not Included


Visa requirements


Travel insurance

Spending money

Some meals unless otherwise indicated

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