Sunday, August 18

Huge tourism impact 

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KUDAT: The Tun Mustapha Park which was gazetted as the largest marine protected area in the region is expected to create a huge impact on Sabah’s tourism and aquaculture industries, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

He said the proclamation which involved an area of 898,762.76 hectares covering the districts of Kudat, Kota Marudu and Pitas, not only proved the state government’s commitment to preserving and conserving Sabah’s natural surroundings but also showed its seriousness in addressing socio-economic development for the benefit of the people.

As such Musa said it was hoped that with the gazetting, various agencies, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Sabah Fisheries Department, Fisheries Association and the local communities would cooperate in the sustainable management of marine biodiversity in Sabah waters, especially in Kudat, Pitas and Kota Marudu.

“With the gazetting too Malaysia’s commitment towards the Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Environment Programme (CBD-UNEP) to protect at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas before 2020 will undoubtedly be achieved,” he said when launching the Tun Mustapha Park, here yesterday.

The Tun Mustapha Park which was declared a marine park under Sabah Parks Enactment 1984 (Amendment 2007) on May 19 is the ninth park to come under the Sabah Parks Management. It is the largest marine park in Sabah and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the gazetting was a historic achievement for Sabah and his ministry had been given the trust to see that the preservation of the marine park was managed more efficiently.

He said the goal and expectation of establishing the park was to protect marine and coastal ecosystems and at the same time improve the fishing industry as well as create more opportunities for the Sabah tourism industry which would in return benefit the local community.

“Sabah is concerned with conservation to ensure there is a balance between physical development and conservation. We want to invest for the sake of our future generation,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after the launch, Masidi said six marine parks managed by Sabah Parks would serve as shark sanctuaries in an effort to protect endangered shark species.

At the ceremony Musa also launched the Kudat Festival 2016, held in conjunction with Visit Kudat Year 2016-2017.

Also present were Minister of Special Tasks Datuk Teo Chee Kang who is also Tanjung Kapor state assemblyman, State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman and several state cabinet ministers.