KOTA KINABALU: Efforts are now underway to submit for the State Cabinet consideration additional areas throughout Sabah that are to be gazetted as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and this will definitely go beyond the 10 percent threshold recommended by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said Sabah currently has about 1.02 million hectares of MPAs.
As had been announced by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, during the Pacom Conference recently, Pang said the waters around Mantanani would soon be submitted to the State Cabinet to be gazetted as a MPA.
“This move is the first among many more to come in efforts to meet IUCN recommendation for all nations to have at least 10 percent territorial waters to be conserved through MPAs,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Pang, who chairs the Sabah Anti Fish Bombing Committee, lauded the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) on its seizure of close to 50 pieces of explosives used for fish bombing during a raid on five pump boats at Mantanani Kecil in Kota Belud recently.
“I would like to dearly congratulate the MMEA Sabah and Labuan branch under the capable leadership of First Admiral Mohd Zubil Mat Som and Kota Kinabalu MMEA director, First Admiral Adam Aziz, on the seizure.
“This latest apprehension will surely go a long way to safeguard the waters around Mantanani, which is currently a hotspot for tourism activities,” he said.
Pang said MMEA’s recent string of success against criminals operating in our territorial waters, especially the detention of foreign vessels caught fishing in our waters, has greatly helped the State in its efforts to protect our precious marine environment and its precious resources.
“We applaud the commitment of MMEA and know that they will continue do the best in discharging their duties.
“With the recent budget announcement by the Prime Minister cum Minister of Finance, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, allocating quite a handsome amount for our security forces, I hope additional assets will be deployed to MMEA so that they can achieve the same success in the north and east coast region of Sabah, especially on turtle poaching, as they have done here in the west coast,” he added.