MIRI: Sarawak is committed in developing strategies to avoid losing, like others countries worldwide, its coral reef through anthropogenic threats and other natural causes.
Managing director/chief executive offi cer of the Sarawak Forestry Corporation Datuk Ali Yusop said the Miri Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park for example, is also under immediate and constant threat from human activities like fi shing trawlers, phantom gill nets, fi sh bombing, cyanide and ornamental collection for trade.
“There is urgent need to enhance its protection through placement of reef balls, a proven protection tool especially since there is still a vast expanse of unexplored coral reefs and other marine biodiversity yet to be studied.
“It is our hope that Shell and others organisations in private sector will step forward to bridge the gap and partner with us in deploying reef balls to Miri Sibut Coral Reef National Park,” said Ali yesterday.
He was representing the Assistant Minister of Environment, Datu Len Talif Salleh, at the Reef and Beach Cleaning Campaign in Miri, organised jointly by SFC and the Sarawak Shell Berhad.
Among those present were the Deputy Resident Abdul Azid Mohd Yusuf, Miri mayor Lawrence Lai, Chok Chee Tsong (general manager, Sarawak Asset, Sarawak Shell Berhad) and Head of the Malaysian Nature Society, (MNS) Miri Chapter, Musa Musbah and protem chairman for the Piasau Camp Hornbill Park Society Datuk Sebastian Ting, who was former political secretary to the former Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water.
Ali stressed that coral reef protection and conservation is necessary as it is also an important tourism product.
The tourism revenues to the world economy has been estimated at over RM1.2 trillion per annum with millions of people dependent on them for food and employment.
He thanked Shell for collaborating with SFC in organising the reef cleaning at two selected reef areas – Siwa and Eve Reefs, and kick-start a long-term marine conservation and monitoring campaign in the National Park.
“Reef assessment and monitoring will be conducted to establish a baseline database for the park and besides being vital for protection and conservation purposes,” he said.
Chok in his speech said the campaign was part of their on-going collaborations with SFC and other agencies including non-governmental organisation like MNS.
“Today’s event and community participation reprises this spirit of partnership with Sarawak Forestry who are custodian of protected areas and the management authority of Sarawak’s biodiversity resources – onshore and offshore,” he said.
He said the campaign held in conjunction with this year’s World Environment Day was participated by over 200 volunteers including 44 divers, staff of Shell and SFC.
During the campaign, a total of 2,357 kg of trash including 37 kg from the reefs was collected and later handed to the Miri City Council for disposal.