A total of 212 sites were surveyed in 2018 (2017: 227), 95 in Peninsular Malaysia and 117 in East Malaysia. The surveys are a continuation of a successful National Reef Check Survey Programme that has now run for twelve years.
The results indicate that Malaysian reefs surveyed have a relatively high level of living coral, at 42.42% (2017: 42.53%). The low level of recently killed corals indicates few immediate threats and continuing recovery from the 2010 bleaching event that killed coral reefs around South East Asia.
Low levels of abundance of high-value species of fish (such as grouper) and shellfish (such as lobster) were recorded, indicating slow recovery from past overfishing and possible continuing problems with poaching inside Marine Protected Areas.
Some coral reefs show increasing amounts of algae, suggesting that they are suffering from an ecosystem imbalance due to elevated nutrient inputs, possibly from sewage and agriculture activities (particularly plantations), coupled with low herbivory by fish and sea urchins.
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