In the month of February 2020, our team on Tioman Island along with the trained locals in Tioman Marine Conservation Group (TMCG) conducted the following marine conservation activities:
We removed 4 ghost nets
We removed one illegal and discarded Fish Aggregating Device
We cleaned up oil spill on one beach. The oil spill was relatively minor and the clean-up involved the local government.
We eliminated 80 Crown-of-Thorns starfish (coral predator) from two dive sites. Currently, there seems to be an outbreak of these coral predators. We will have to revisit these sites and a couple more sites in the next couple of weeks to monitor the progress of the Crown-of-Thorns starfish. Local villagers and dive centres were involved in this activity.
We installed 9 new mooring lines at dive and snorkel sites to prevent boat anchoring on coral reefs.
Furthermore, there was bad, stormy and rainy weather (tail end of the monsoon season), hence limiting what we could do.
Since our last report on ghost net sighting and removal on 9 January, we have received many more reports of ghost nets or discarded Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) stuck on coral reefs around Tioman Island.
Our team on the island along with the Tioman Marine Conservation Group (TMCG) who are local islanders trained by us to address marine conservation issues and threats, managed to remove these debris and prevent further destruction of the reefs.
30 January - Ghost net near Batu Salang
4 February - Ghost net
5 February - FAD near Monkey Bay (In the past, FAD were made with coconut leaves but now they are being made with plastic strings. When no longer wanted, they are cut and dumped. It is extremely hard to cut free the plastic strings from the reef as they get very tangled, and the bits that are stuck break down to microplastic)
7 February - Ghost nets near Panuba and Lighthouse
When we remove these threats, we need to hire boats, dive tanks, and pay for fuel to reach these affected reef areas. Often, it is hardwork and requires lots of manpower to remove the heavy fishing nets. We hope illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and illegal dumping can be reduced but this requires a concerted effort from all levels of government and parties involved. Help us protect the fragile marine ecosystem by supporting our work!
In 2019, we collected data of all the recycling activities and collected recyclables from around Tioman Island. Our estimates of weight of the recyclables are as follows: glass bottles 30,000kg; plastic bottles 2,000kg; tin 1,500kg; batteries 20kg and e-waste 15kg. These numbers are based on what was collected from three out of the seven villages on Tioman Island - Tekek, Air Batang and Juara.
Plastic bottles, tins (aluminum tins) and e-waste will be sent to the recycling centre on the mainland, while the glass bottles will be sent to Rumah Hijau Tioman to be crushed using the glass crusher machine. The crushed glass will turn out to be fine sand which can be used for our coral rehabilitation blocks or construction materials when mixed with cement.
For 2020, we hope to expand the recycling programme to the other 4 villages on Tioman Island. Please support our work to keep our oceans free of marine litter!
An amazing success story from our team on Mantanani Island in Sabah! In 2019 alone, we've successfully conducted 20 training sessions in alternative livelihoods and capacity-building skills. A total of 209 participants from the local community were trained.
These training sessions include eco-friendly snorkel guiding, homestay marketing, language classes (English and Mandarin), computer skills, baking, and film-making, aims to build the capacity and enhance skills among the local community that can contribute to establishing a community-based ecotourism on Mantanani Island.
This will in turn improve their livelihoods through the generation of more income. Congratulations to our Cintai Mantanani team for organising and carrying out these training sessions. More to come in 2020!
A ghost net was sighted at Tioman Island and reported to us on 9 January 2020. The person who first noticed the ghost net tied it to the pier so it would stop drifting to the coral reefs. It turned out to be a huge ghost net and required the cooperation of multiple parties - Reef Check Malaysia and Tioman Marine Conservation Group (community-led conservation group initiated by Reef Check Malaysia), Department of Fisheries Malaysia, and Alam Flora (the new waste management company on Tioman Island).
It would have been a disaster for the coral reefs if we did not manage to remove the net. Fortunately, the 3 Sargassum Frogfish that was stuck among the net was rescued and survived.
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