Saturday, December 09, 2017

Semporna leads the way in coral reef protection

KOTA KINABALU: Semporna is leading the way in adopting the Coral Bleaching Early Response Plan to protect its rich coral reef ecosystem.

Semporna district officer Dr Chacho Bulah recently launched the plan during the six-day Semporna Marine Eco Week 2017, which ended on Dec 2.

The plan aims to monitor coral bleaching and promote recovery. Assessment will be carried out
by Sabah Parks, Reef Check Malaysia, Scuba Junkie SEAS, Reef Dive Resort, Pom-Pom Island Resort, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Malaysia.

Chacho said to sustain Semporna’s tourism industry, the district’s coral ecosystem must be healthy and resilient to face climate change.

“Most foreigners I have spoken to only know Sipadan as one of the top five diving destinations in the world.

“As the gateway to Sipadan, Semporna has not been recognised as a centre of marine biodiversity in the Coral Triangle region.”

He said there was a need for strong commitment and cooperation between government agencies, tourism players, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and local communities to conserve marine life and coral reefs.

“I am pleased to announce that Semporna is the first district in Sabah to launch a Coral Bleaching Early Response Plan,” he said, adding that the Semporna Priority Conservation Area had the largest coral reef coverage in Malaysia.

The conservation area, which is in the Coral Triangle, is the centre of marine biodiversity and provides ecosystem services to people in, and beyond the area.

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