Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WWF on marine conservation

WWF- Malaysia is assessing turtles in northeast Semporna within the Priority Conservation Area (PCA) to establish a marine conservation plan in the coral triangle of the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion (SSME).
WWF is working with the tourism and fishery industries to establish a mechanism on managing the ecosystem and this includes the conservation of sea turtles.

“We are gearing towards efforts to protect the sea turtles. The first step we took was to provide training and appoint honorary wildlife wardens among people working in the tourism industry and from the local community,” said Robecca Jumin, manager of the SSME.

At the state-level, she said WWF is working closely with the fish dealers to urge them to form a trader group so that they can promote good practices to ensure the sustainability of the industry.
“We are hoping to work with the government agencies to establish a concerted management mechanism for the whole of Semporna because at the moment, all the different agencies work by themselves,” said Robecca when speaking to New Sabah Times.
It is estimated that the Semporna PCA is capable of generating over RM123 million a year as the seas there support livelihoods through fisheries; collection of sea cucumber, abalone and giant clams; cultivation of seaweed; and is the backbone of a major tourism industry, estimated to have a net value of RM34.3 million a year.

Robecca said the SSME project was initiated by WWF in late 1999, and adopted by Malaysian, Philippines and Indonesia governments in 2004 before becoming a full-fledged tri-national programme in 2006.
The coral triangle has been identified as one of the 500 important marine ecologies in the world and the three governments have been working together to facilitate the establishment of a conservation programme, she said.

Robecca, who is in charge of all marine works in Sabah said in Malaysia, the Fisheries Department was appointed as the lead agency while WWF-Malaysia assumed the role as an implementer to carry out the conservation plan.

“We began by setting up our office in Kudat in 2006, to work with the government to establish the Tun Mustapha Park, and in late 2007, our office in Semporna was set up where we worked on the conservation of the coral reefs, mangrove, sea grass, seaweed and the marine species including the sea turtles to facilitate sustainable development and resource exportation such as fish,” stated Robecca.
According to her, the first phase of the project since they started in 2007 was to establish the status of the eco-system before they could really engage and establish actual collaboration on the ground. Each phase consists of three years.

“Firstly, we need to establish collaboration with the tourism industry and local community to conserve the turtles. Secondly, to work with the tourism industry on anti-fish bombing and carry out patrolling in the northeast islands off Semporna because this is where all the turtle nesting beaches are found,” said Robecca.

WWF also works with the local community in the town area and the islanders to raise awareness on the importance of resource management especially on how their lifestyle can affect the environment such as throwing plastic bags indiscriminately into the sea.

It is also working with tour operators and the locals to establish a collaborative environment monitoring team to look at changes in the climate and ecosystem so that remedial measures can be taken to minimise the impact.

Meanwhile, Robecca believes that the community here doesn’t hunt for sea turtles as most of the people are Muslims and therefore do not consume the meat for religious reasons. However, they do collect the eggs.
“I think we are lucky in that sense as they only consume the eggs but that still affects the turtle population because out of 1,000 eggs only one will be lucky enough to survive and reach adulthood,” she stated.
“In fact poaching turtle eggs is threatening the turtle population not only here but throughout the region,” she said.

Based on their studies, most of the turtles’ nesting activities happen on the northeast islands of Semporna such as Mataking, Pom-Pom and Pandanan as these areas have less human population unlike in Mabul, which is densely populated due to the presence of resort operators there.

She said the sea turtles will only return to the islands when they are sexually matured, which is usually when they reach 30 years old, and when they need to lay eggs.

“We don’t have documentation on where the turtles go during the time from juvenile to adulthood and we describe this as the ‘lost years’ because when they go into the sea they go into a ‘swimming frenzy’, during which they swim as fast as they can, and even go around the world when they reach adulthood,” said Robecca adding that the sea turtle is a solitary animal.

Green Sabah says:Sea turtles are also slowly going extinct,  we can do our part by refusing to purchase turtle eggs and report turtle egg sales to the authorities. Cases where turtle eggs are stolen, sold and consumed has greatly reduce the amount of turtles that hatches. Awareness to conserve our sea turtles are also much needed and we hoped WWF will continue to help out in this effort. Keep up the good job.


Mohd Ishak said...

Setuju dengan Green Sabah bahawa rakyat kita memainkan peranan yang penting untuk menolak penjualan telor penyu kerana ini adalah salah satu faktor penyu semakin pupus.

Mohd Ishak said...

Harap usaha untuk memperlindungi penyu ini daripada kepupusan boleh dibangkitkan lagi, teruskan usaha kepada WWF dalam kegiatan memperlindungi penyu ini.

Hinamori said...

Sea turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea and Dermochelyidae) are marine reptiles that inhabit all of the world's oceans except the Arctic.

Kris Jr said...

Sea turtles are almost always submerged, and, therefore, have developed an anaerobic system of respiration.

Anonymous said...

kegiatan mengambil telur penyu harus kita banteras, penyu kini dilanda kepupusan.

Saya orang Sabah bah!! said...

Mari kita bersama-sama memastikan tidak ada permintaan terhadap telur penyu yang semakin pupus di Sabah.

Anonymous said...

yup.. we really need such marine conservation plan to protect our marine life which some of them increasingly threatened with extinction...

Anonymous said...

You can find people selling sea turtle eggs in Sandakan. The sellers are usually the PATI. The authority should monitor this illegal activities and arrest them!

Anonymous said...

Each and everyone must have the awareness to protect and conserve the sea turtles.

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