Malaysia: Govt plans to create more artificial reefs

The Star 17 Nov 16;

PLANS are in the pipeline to create more artificial reefs as new habitats for marine life in a move to reverse adverse bleaching of the country’s coral reefs.

Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri said the Government had also invested about RM1.55mil in a conservation project to rebuild dying reefs through seeding initiatives and monitoring of marine parks to preserve the fragile underwater ecosystem.

But as sea temperatures continue to rise as a result of global warming, Hamim said the Government also needed to consider other marine life which relied on reefs for food and shelter.

“The most conventional method is artificial reefs that can serve as a habitat for other marine life.

“This is important because the biodiversity of marine life is so fragile.

“We need to conserve it as it is a major source of food and attraction for tourists,” he told Parliament during a question and answer session yesterday.

Datuk Hasan Arifin (BN-Rompin) asked how many artificial reefs could be created given that the Government was tightening allocations in Budget 2017.

To this, Hamim said the Government was working closely with private organisations as part of their conservation efforts and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

He added that artificial reefs need not be expensive and only require common items such as tyres to create substitute habitats for marine life.

Malaysia is also known for sinking illegal fishing boats to create artificial reefs.

The Government’s reef conservation project, which began in 2013, has planted about 32,498 genetically identical coral nubbins in marine parks in attempts to reverse the mass coral bleaching.

In May, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin­istration Coral Watch Programme issued a “bleaching watch” notification for Malaysia, indicating that its sea surface temperature was above average and posed thermal stress on coral reefs.

Bleached corals have pale colours or appear completely white which stunts growth and will eventually kill coral if the stress factor persists.

In 2010, it was estimated that about 30% of Malaysia’s coral reefs had died due to warm sea surface level temperatures that reached 32°C.

RM1.5mil invested in marine conservation project
NICHOLAS CHENG The Star 16 Nov 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has invested about RM1.5mil in a conservation project as it work to reverse adverse bleaching in its coral reefs and install more artificial reefs to create new habitats for marine life.

Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri told Parliament the project covers the rebuilding of dying reefs through seeding initiatives and monitoring of marine parks to prevent damage to the fragile ecosystem.

But as sea temperatures continue to rise through global warming, Hamim said the Government also needed to consider the other marine life which rely on reefs for food and shelter.

"The most conventional method is artificial reefs that can serve as a habitat for other marine life.

"This is important because the biodiversity of marine life is so fragile, we need to conserve it because it is a big source of food and attraction for tourists,” he told Datuk Hasan Arifin (UMNO - Rompin).

Hasan wanted to know how much of artificial reefs can be created given the tightened allocations in Budget 2017.

Hamim said the Government was working with private organisations to contribute funds to the conservation projects as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives.

The Government’s reef conservation project, which began in 2013, has planted about 3,400 fast-growing coral seeds.

In May, The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coral Watch Programme issued a "bleaching watch" notification for Malaysia, indicating that its sea surface temperature was above average and posed thermal stress on its coral reefs.

Bleached corals have pale colours or appear completely white, which stunts growth and will eventually kill corals if the stress factor persists.

In 2010, it was estimated that about 30% of Malaysia’s coral reefs died due to warm sea surface level temperatures that reached up to 32 degrees Celsius.

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