Single-use plastic bottles are a huge problem anywhere in the world. They are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. While recycling helps to reduce pollution caused by single-use plastic bottles, in Tioman Island we want to reduce the usage of single-use plastic bottles. To achieve this, drinking water refill stations were set up at many locations around Tioman.
In each village, there are 2 to 3 water refill stations, accessible and visible to everyone. Each water refill station has two nozzles to refill water bottle, providing both hot and cold water. In addition to water refill stations set up by Reef Check Malaysia, many chalet or resort operators support the effort by providing water refill facility or service to their guests.
Crown-of-Thorns (COTs) preys on hard corals and can damage coral reefs when their population exceeds 20-30 individuals per 10,000m2 healthy reef. If their number is above the acceptable limit, COTs injection is needed to control their population.
A number of coral reefs around Malaysia have been recording high number of COTs. From January until June, numerous COTs removal programmes were carried out and a total of 3411 COTs were injected; 1415 COTs from Tioman Island, Pahang, 1081 COTs from Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Kota Kinabalu and 915 COTs from Blue Rings, Kunak. The success of these efforts was due to collaboration from Reef Check Malaysia, Department of Fisheries Pahang and Sabah, Tioman Marine Conservation Group, dive centres and volunteers.
Anchor plays an important role in shipping industry. It is drop to the bottom to prevent the ship or boat from drifting away due to wind and currents. However, using an anchor can be devastating if it is drop in a coral reef area. Corals are easily broken as the anchor hits the corals or the anchor line gets dragged along the bottom. Not only that, other marine flora and fauna living at the bottom of the sea will also be affected.
By installing mooring buoy and mooring line at dive sites, boatmen do not have to drop anchor on the reef, they just need to tie their boats to the mooring buoy or mooring line. This prevent reefs damage. There were plenty of mooring buoys and mooring lines installed around Tioman Island, unfortunately, a lot of the buoys were damaged during monsoon season and some were cut loose and removed by illegal fishermen.
With the end of monsoon season and beginning of diving season, Reef Check Malaysia together with Department of Fisheries Pahang, Tioman Marine Conservation Group and Tioman Dive Association installed a total of 14 mooring buoys and mooring lines around Tioman Island, replacing lost one as well as adding new one.
In order to reduce pressure on the reefs and seeing the abundance of coconut trees on Mantanani Island, producing and selling Virgin Coconut Oil as an alternative livelihood was introduced to Mantanani locals.
Prior to this project, coconut oil was produced on the island for personal use. With this project, for the first time, Mantanani locals managed to produce, market and sell to buyers, both on the island and mainland. Despite of this, the locals still need to find ways and better equipment to produce Virgin Coconut Oil that can last longer. Our team on Mantanani island are looking into these matters and working closely with the locals to help them in this venture.
With the end of monsoon season in Malaysia, we have started rolling out our annual Reef Check surveys around Malaysia. Since April, we have managed to complete surveys at Usukan Cove, Mabul, Kapalai and Tioman islands. Every year, we conduct surveys at over 200 sites around Malaysia.
Results from last year surveys showed that Malaysia’s reefs have fair level of living coral, at 41.32% and the abundance of most indicator fish and invertebrates is low. Key threats facing coral reefs in Malaysia are pollution, Crown-of-Thorns starfish, fish bombing and tourism impacts. Many of these threats can be addressed on a very local scale – at island level. Our team on Tioman, Mantanani and Mersing islands are working closely with local authorities and stakeholders to address these threats.
You can dowload our reports at https://www.reefcheck.org.my/annual-reports
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