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 Local

Sabah Parks on track to meet 13 per cent marine protected areas target

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Dr Hj Abdul Kadir exchanging the signed MOU documents with Mohd Amin (2nd from left), witnessed by Dr Jamili (left) yesterday.

15th March, 2019

By MOHD IZHAM B. HASHIM

KOTA KINABALU: With the plan to add Darvel Bay and Mantanani Islands to the list of marine parks, Sabah Parks remains on track to expand protected waters to meet the Sabah government’s 13 per cent target of marine protected areas by 2023.

Its Director, Dr Jamili Nais who met reporters yesterday revealed the inclusion of the two biodiversity hotspots would enable Sabah’s total marine protected areas (MPAs) to reach 11 per cent which is well beyond the 10 per cent threshold recommended by the Union of Conservation Nature (IUCN).

“Right now, we are at 7.4 per cent but with the new proposed areas of Darvel Bay and Mantanani, Sabah’s marine protected areas will total 11 per cent,” he said, after witnessing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing on the Strategic Workshop Plan 2015-2025 between Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Sabah campus and Sabah Parks, yesterday.

Dr Jamili said the process to gazette the two new marine protected areas is still ongoing, highlighting it was still at the proposal stage to the Sabah government, and will go through consultation and documentation before it can take place.

Additionally, he noted new potential areas to be included as marine sanctuaries are being identified, saying the aim to reaching 13 per cent target was Sabah Park’s official key performance indicator (KPI) after it was set by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment on December 6, last year.

Sabah already has the largest marine protected area in the country, totaling 1.02 million hectares which includes the Tun Mustapha Marine Park to the north; Sipadan, Tun Sakaran Marine Park and the Turtle Islands in the east coast, while in the west coast are Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and Pulau Tiga.

Meanwhile, the MOU agreement was signed between the Chairman of the Sabah Parks Board of Trustees, Mohd Amin Bin Abd Mem, and UiTM Rector, Prof Datuk Dr Haji Abdul Kadir Haji Rosline in conjunction with the launching of the Sabah Parks 2019 Strategic Workshop Plan at Hilton Hotel, recently.

The agreement, according to Mohd Amin, is part of the ongoing process aimed at identifying and developing strategic initiatives based on three important components, which includes conserving and elevating Sabah’s natural wonders through research as well as developing its potential for ecotourism.

With the signing, Sabah Parks and UiTM will further expedite joint collaboration on areas such as carrying out scientific expeditions; UiTM-Sabah Parks career development programme and industry training for students and staff; Research and Training UiTM-Sabah, and implementing academic collaboration in other fields.

“Secondly, with our capacity as stewards of the environment, we need to encourage the involvement of the local community to build their awareness that such conservation efforts is not just for Sabah parks but also benefit the future of local folk,” he added.

On the final element, Mohd Amin underlined it is also important to find ways on how Sabah’s natural assets can be developed as tourism products that attract domestic and international visitors which would further spur increased economic opportunities and jobs for locals.

For example, he noted that conservation efforts in Sipadan were in place to ensure the sustainability of marine ecosystems by limiting the number of visitors to the island, recognised as one of the world’s top dive sites for its biodiverse-rich marine ecosystems.

   
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