KOTA KINABALU: The new Marine Aquarium Centre at Manukan Island will not only serve as a tourist attraction, but will also serve as a platform to educate the public on the importance and functions of marine life, especially sharks, said Sabah Parks director Dr Jamli Nais.
“This aquarium will be the supplier of information and, hopefully, will inspire visitors to learn more about the importance and functions of sharks in the marine ecosystem.
“This is in line with the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park’s declaration, which is to be a shark sanctuary along with the other marine parks in Sabah,” Jamli said at the soft launching of the aquarium yesterday.
Jamli disclosed that among the types of sharks that will be displayed is a blacktip reef shark.
He added that the park will be launched officially on September 1 and the entrance fee for the rest of the year will be free.
“This concept all started from an idea which is to have a marine exhibition centre very close to the city. With this new centre that we have just built, it will be easier for tourists to come and visit, as Manukan Island is only a 15-minute boat journey from the city centre,” Jamli added.
Yesterday’s event also marked the 43rd anniversary of the proclamation of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.
Over the past ten years, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park had recorded 1,234 accidents, and only 195 of these involved accidents where the victim had nearly drowned or drowned. Out of the 195 cases, only 5.1 per cent were fatal accidents.
As of now, the parks in Sabah have a total of 48 coast guards and four dive marshals (all stationed at Sipadan Island). Twenty-eight of these coast guards are stationed at Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and 11 are in Manukan Island, Jamli said.
Also present at the event were Tunku Abdul Rahman Park manager Anthony Tinggi, and research officer cum marine biologist, Nasrulhakim Maidin.