Malaysia: Thousands hectares set apart for aquaculture in Sabah

Durie Rainer Fong The Star 27 Sep 11;

KOTA KINABALU: Several thousand hectares of coastal lands and seas will soon be gazetted as aquaculture industrial zones to enable the sustainable management of aquaculture development.

This also includes the substantive on-going preparations by many stakeholders on the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park, north of Sabah by 2015.

“This park will be the largest multiple-use park in South-East Asia,” said permanent secretary to the state Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry Datuk Ujang Sulani.

There was no point to pursue a future based on wealth creation, unsustainable growth that will deplete resources and displace communities, which will have dire consequences for future generations, he added.

“Hence, the decision to earmark these zones for sustainable aquaculture development,” he said at the second CTI Regional Exchange on the Implementation of Ecosystem Approach and Fisheries Management Activities in the Coral Triangle Countries workshop here recently.

Ujang said much attention had been placed on the issue of resource depletion and the impact of development to the health and biodiversity of the wider ecosystems in recent times.

“The Coral Triangle is a treasure trove of marine biodiversity and a source of aesthetic, spiritual, cultural and recreational values for the 120 million people that live within the region,” he said.

“Naturally I hope the workshop will come up with a management framework that is adaptable and workable to each country,” he said.

In this respect, Ujang explained that there are presently four mil ha of sustainable managed forests, mangrove, marine and wildlife reserves and sanctuaries in Sabah.

The Coral Triangle refers to a roughly triangular area encompassing the tropical waters of Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

The Triangle contains hundreds of species of reef-building corals in each eco-region.

Malaysia, principally Sabah, through its participation in the Sulu Sulawesi Marine Eco-region Programme, is also engaged in the Sulu Celebes Sea Sustainable Fisheries Management project.