Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Dive marshals to police Sipadan

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Parks will appoint four dive marshals in Sipadan following outrage over a tourist from China being photographed holding animals, including a turtle, in Semporna waters.

Sabah Parks director Jamili Nais said the move was necessary to ensure dive operators and tourists did not harass marine life.

He said they were also in discussions with Reef Check Malaysia on certification for ethical diving, for example the “Green Fin” certification programme.

“We shall continue with our other ethical diving awareness and education programmes,” he said, adding that he was surprised and disappointed by the incident because the operator was well-known and reputable.

“In general, the dive industry is self-regulatory and most dive operators are ethical,” he said.

A photograph of the Chinese tourist holding a sea turtle among other marine life caught in Semporna waters surfaced on social media three days ago, creating a stir among conservationists who wanted action taken against Singamata Adventure and Reef Resort, whose boat was seen in the photographs.

Jamili said preliminary investigations could not determine where the tourists went snorkelling in March because the boatman left the company in May.

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