Nov 23, 2020

Green Fins in Malaysia

Green Fins is the world’s first and only set of assessed environmental standards for scuba diving. This is done through adopting a 15-points Code of Conduct that will help mitigate dive operators’ impacts when carrying out diving activities, both underwater and on land. Members receive annual assessments, training, and feedback to help them achieve the Code of Conduct.

 

In March 2014, a Malaysian Team was established, comprising Marine Parks Malaysia, Sabah Parks and Reef Check Malaysia, with the capacity and skills to implement Green Fins.

 

As of today, in Malaysia, there are 49 certified Green Fins members, 3 Green Fins trainers and 9 Green Fins Assessors.

 

We are proud to announce that the winners of the coveted 2020 Green Fins Award are

 

  • Bubbles Dive Centre, Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia,
  • Flora Bay Divers, Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia
  • and Tioman Dive Centre, Pulau Tioman, Malaysia

 

The prestigious annual award recognises Green Fins member with the lowest environmental impact. This year, competition was so tight there was not one, but three winners all tied in first place. What’s more, all three of the winners and seven of the global top 10 centres are based in Malaysia!

 

1. Tioman Dive Centre, Flora Bay Divers and Bubbles Dive Centre (all in Malaysia)

4. Ceningan Divers (Indonesia)

5. Scuba Junkie Mabul (Malaysia)

6. Sea Voice Divers (Malaysia)

7. Evolution (Philippines)

8. Orca Nation Rawa (Malaysia)

9. Equation (Philippines)

10. The Barat Perhentian Beach Resort (Malaysia)

 

Reef Check Malaysia will ensure Green Fins members in Malaysia continue to undergo annual training sessions and assessments of their dive centres to ensure that they are continually working to minimise their environmental impact.

Nov 19, 2020

Crown-of-thorns removal on Tioman Island

Crown-of-thorns (COTs) have never been a problem on Tioman Island. Every year, Reef Check Malaysia together with Tioman Marine Conservation Group and dive operators carry out COTs removal to keep COTs population under control. From 2016 to 2019, this team had removed 392 COTs from the reefs.

 

However, this year alone, they removed a whopping 1033 individuals! The cause of the outbreaks is not known yet but the team is doing their best to prevent further outbreaks and damages on the reefs.

 

COTs outbreaks can cause mass mortality of corals as adult COTS can kill entire corals, including large colonies. On top of that, predation scars and injuries caused by COTS can cause disease outbreaks. The main predators of COTs include the Giant triton snail, Stars and stripes puffer fish, Titan triggerfish and the Humphead maori wrasse. However, the abundance of COTs’ predators is very low and human intervention is needed.

 

The team removes COTs via vinegar injection. This method is proven to be safe, effective (killing COTs in less than 24 hours under both experimental and field conditions), inexpensive and widely available method for killing COTs.

 

A big THANK YOU to those who reported to us and joined us in removing COTs!

Nov 16, 2020

Oil spills clean-up on Tioman

Oil spills are a huge problem on Tioman and happen more frequently than one think. This year alone, Tioman had five different occasions where oil was found in the water or washed up on the shores. From 2016 to 2019, Reef Check Malaysia together with local stakeholders have had to rapidly respond to reports of oil spills and remove over 5 tonnes of oil spills from beaches.

 

Tioman are considered lucky because different stakeholders such as local Tioman Development Authority, Department of Fisheries Malaysia, Alam Flora, Tioman Marine Conservation Group, local business operators and villagers, sometimes tourists too, came together to remove the spills.

 

However, being a small location and located remotely, Tioman lacks the equipment to deal with large oil spills and endures delay as materials need to be transported there.

 

Most oil spills on Tioman are results of illegal dumping by vessels passing by Tioman waters or sometimes vessel collisions happened at offshore, brought in by currents.

 

We hope these vessels will be more responsible and spare Tioman from oil spills disasters – claiming marine life, covering unaware snorkelers and divers with the spills, and reducing aesthetic of Tioman beaches to name a few.

 
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