Malaysia’s largest marine park opens in Sabah

The Star 25 Jul 16;

KUDAT: Sabah has launched the Tun Mustapha Marine Park, the country’s largest marine park and it is now part of the massive Coral Triangle.

This marine park spreading almost 890,000ha from Kudat, Pitas and Kota Marudu will see the conservation and rehabilitation of ma­­rine lives, is just a step away from achieving a 10% conservation on seafront and marine lives by 2020.

The Coral Triangle is a marine area located in the western Pacific Ocean.

It includes the waters of Indo­nesia, Malaysia, the Phi­lip­pines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Coral Triangle is named for the staggering number of corals (nearly 600 different species of reef-building corals alone) that nurture six of the world’s seven marine turtle species and more than 2,000 species of reef fish.

The Coral Triangle also supports large populations of commercial tuna, fuelling a multi-billion dollar global tuna industry but is at risk due to non-sustainable fishing and other marine activities.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who made this announcement at the Kudat Festival, said that the gazetting of the Tun Mustapha Marine Park was proof of the government’s commitment to protect the environment.

He added that such a move would benefit villagers as more tourists would be interested to visit Sabah.

This, he said, would generate more tourism revenue for the go­vernment and more business opportunities for the people.

“Tourism is among the main sectors for Sabah and the country, and that is why it is important for us to ensure that our natural resources are protected for generations to come,” he said.

Musa also said that other countries were interested to learn Sabah’s conservation efforts and policies.

Tourism, Culture and Environ­ment minister Masidi Manjun, who was also present at the event, said the state’s main development agenda “is to see a balance with nature and conservation”.

“Sabah is pro-conservation, we want to make sure there’s a ba­lance between physical development and the environment,” he said.

Masidi said Sabah must ensure that it looked after its resources and ensure the people continue benefit from it via the tourism industry.

“We want the locals to give their cooperation to the state and Sabah Parks,” he added.

Six Sabah marine parks to become shark sanctuaries
The Star 25 Jul 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Six of the ma­rine parks under Sabah Parks will be gazetted as shark sanctuaries in an effort to protect the species.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun made the announcement in the wake of the recent slaughter of sharks off Sabah’s Mabul island.

The incident which went viral on social media caused an uproar among netizens.

He said the move to gazette might be able to help protect the population of sharks around Sabah as the state government was not able to legally ban shark hunting and finning.

However, he said the initial approach would be more educational than imperative.

“We want to start the creation of shark sanctuaries by educating the people so that they feel that they have ownership of the programme,” Masidi said.

He explained that education was more important because in the end, the success or failure of a programme depended on how much the people felt that it belonged to them.

He added that he wanted the locals and fishermen to be with the government in making the initiative a success.

“We want them to understand that they can continue to hunt according to their traditions and way of life but to leave enough for conservation,” explained Masidi.

Tun Mustapha Park, Malaysia's largest marine park, officially launched
AVILA GERALDINE New Straits Times 24 Jul 16;

KUDAT: Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman launched Tun Mustapha Park (TMP), Malaysia's biggest marine park, here today.

The park, spanning approximately 898762.76 hectares, promises better marine protection and conservation in this part of the world.

It was declared a protected area under the Sabah Parks Enactment 1984 by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah Tun Juhar on May 19.

Speaking to the local community and tourists, Musa said the success of the gazettement was part of the state government's efforts in advancing the people's socio-economy through various sectors. "This is a historical event for us.

With the establishment of this large marine park, Malaysia's commitment in the Convention of Biological Diversity, United Nations Environment Programme to protect at least 10 per cent of the marine and coastal area can be achieved by 2020."

Present at the launch of the TMP were State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun and assistant minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, and State Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang.

In 2003, the TMP was proposed by the Sabah government shortly after it was recognised as a globally-significant priority marine conservation area.

The marine park is located off the districts of Kudat, Kota Marudu and Pitas right up to the Balabac Strait.

It is also is situated within the Coral Triangle which is a six million sq km marine area that directly sustains and protects more than 120 million people in coastal communities across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.

With its declaration, the size of protected marine parks in Sabah now stretches to about two million hectares along with the Tun Sakaran Marine Park and the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.

Meanwhile, Masidi said the six marine parks under Sabah Parks would be part of a sanctuary in an effort to protect the shark population.

"We will start the initiative of the creation of a shark sanctuary by educating the people so they too have ownership of the programme.

"I must admit that one of the reasons why there seems to be an apparent failure in wildlife protection is perhaps we have not done enough to educate the village folks on conservation.

"I believe the people need to feel passionate enough to be part of the system; that is what we need to emphasise in the enforcement of the shark sanctuary in all marine parks in Sabah."

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