Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Coral in Penang

20 years ago there were soft corals and sea fans off Pantai Kerachut and at Pulau Tikus. Pulau Kendi is an island south of Penang Island that don't have proper beach for boat to stop and that could be the reason few people ever been there, me included. Glad to know that the corals are thriving at Pulau Kendi.


December 8, 2010
Expert: We must preserve corals

GEORGE TOWN: Pulau Kendi in Penang is one of many islands in the country that is rich in coral but has not been gazetted as a marine park.

Marine biologist Prof Zulfigar Yasin said there was no conservation work to protect the coral on these islands.

“If the situation persists, the fishes will lose their habitat and Malaysia will slowly lose part of its heritage,” he said during an interview at Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Zulfigar, who is with the university’s School of Biological Sciences, was a presenter at a five-day training workshop on coral taxonomy at the university which ends today.

He cited other islands like Pulau Songsong in Kedah, some islands near Langkawi and Pulau Sembilan in Perak should be gazetted as marine parks to conserve their coral.

“Pulau Payar, for example, is providing the fishermen a sustainable source of fish after being gazetted as a marine park,” he said.

Currently, there are six marine parks in the country, which are made up of 42 islands in Kedah, Perak, Terengganu, Pahang, Johor and Sabah.

In a related matter, Prof Zulfigar said the government should incorporate a more specific policy to address coral bleaching as the issue would impact the coastal communities and the country’s tourism industry in the long-term.

He was commenting on the closure of nine popular snorkelling sites at marine parks in Kedah, Pahang and Terengganu in July for several months because of coral bleaching.

The Marine Parks Department had banned recreational activity and the sites were off limits to divers and coral enthusiasts.

Dr Zulfigar said Malaysia currently only has a general policy to protect bio-diversity and it was high time to rescue the coral reef by creating public awareness while adding that another factor related to coral bleaching was the rise in acidity levels of sea water due to human activities.

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