Kien Giang and Kep Archipelago IMMA
Size in Square Kilometres
8 889 km2
Qualifying Species and Criteria
Irrawaddy dolphin – Orcaella brevirostris
Criterion A; C (2)
Dugong – Dugong dugon
Criterion A; C (2)
Marine Mammal Diversity
Neophocaena phocaenoides, Tursiops aduncus, Pseudorca crassidens, Sousa chinensis, Stenella attenuata, Balaenoptera edeni
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The Kien Giang and Kep Archipelago IMMA covers the coastal waters of Kien Giang province in Vietnam and Kep province in Cambodia. The area contains important habitats for the survival and recovery of Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris). A combination of mangroves, coral reefs and seagrass beds in the area create exceptionally high productivity that attract marine mammals. The local seagrass beds provide suitable foraging ground for dugongs (Dugong dugon). The Irrawaddy dolphin is the most frequently sighted cetacean in this area. In this area, sightings of Indo-Pacific finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides), Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis), Pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata), False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) and Bryde’s whales (Balaenoptera edeni) have also been recorded. The Kien Giang and Kep Archipelago IMMA contains important foraging habitat of at least two threatened species, which are the Irrawaddy dolphin and the dugong.
Description of Qualifying Criteria
Criterion A – Species or Population Vulnerability
The area contains habitat that important for the survival and recovery of the Irrawaddy dolphin and the dugong. The Irrawaddy dolphin was listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red list as all known populations have been reducing worldwide (Minton et al. 2017). The dugong was recognised as a Vulnerable species by IUCN due to emerging threats on remaining populations (Marsh and Sobtzick, 2015). Despite of the data gaps regarding the abundance and distribution of the two species in Kien Giang and Kep Archipelago, dugong and Irrawaddy dolphin are consistently recorded in this area (Vu et al. Forthcoming).
Criterion C: Key Life Cycle Activities
Sub-criterion C2: Feeding Areas
The area provides an important nutritional base on which a species or population depends. The Kien Giang and Kep Archipelago meets this criterion because of its exceptionally high productivity, high prey abundance and the presence of seagrass beds, which are crucial for dugongs (Quang et al. 2005, Hines et al. 2008). For Irrawaddy dolphins on the Vietnam side, fifteen percent of observed activities were feeding behaviours (Vu et al. Forthcoming). On the Cambodian side, there was a statistically significant departure from homogeneity between the four potential behaviour categories observed (Foraging, Travelling, Socialising, Resting), with more Foraging and Travelling than expected. For the dugong, the presence of suitable seagrass beds and interview data (which acquired from local dugong hunters) suggested the dugong forage in this area (Hong, 2003; Quang et al. 2005; Hines et al. 2008; Supkong and Bourne, 2014).
Hines, E., Adulyanukosol, K., Somany, P., Ath, L.S., Cox, N. and Boonyanate, P. 2008. Conservation needs of the dugong Dugong dugon in Cambodia and Phu Quoc Island , Vietnam. Oryx 42:113–121.
Hong, D.P. 2003. The primary assessment on the dugong population in Viet Nam. Pages 64–71 Proceedings on the 4th SEASTAR 2000 Workshop. Kyoto University, Kyoto.
Marsh, H. and Sobtzick, S. 2015. Dugong dugon. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T6909A43792211. 8235.
Minton, G., Smith, B.D., Braulik, G.T., Kreb, D., Sutaria, D. and Reeves, R. 2017. Orcaella brevirostris, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017 8235. IUCN Global Species Programme Red List Unit. Available from
Sukong, P. and Bourne, L.S. 2014. A survey of seagrass beds in Kampot, Cambodia. Thailand: IUCN.
Quang, V.V., Ben, H.X., Vy, N.X. and Cox, N.J. 2005. Conservation of the Dugong (Dugong dugon) in Phu Quoc Islands, Vietnam. A report for BP conservation programme.
Smith, B.D.B., Jefferson, T.A., Leatherwood, S., Ho, D.T., Thuoc, C.V. and Quang, L.H. 1997. Investigations of marine mammals in Vietnam. Asian Marine Biology 14:145–172.
Vu, L., Truong, A.T., Tran, T.S.N., Nguyen, T.H.T., Le D., Nguyen, N.H. and Hoang, M.D. 2015. Conservation of Cetaceans in Kien Giang biosphere reserve, Vietnam’, paper delivered at 21st Society for Marine Mammalogy Biennial Conference, San Francisco, 13th-18th December 2015
Vu, L. Forthcoming. Conservation of cetacean in Kien Giang biosphere reserve- Vietnam: Challenges and strategies.