Last week brought the establishment of the Tun Mustapha Park in Malaysia, a milestone in the marine conservation world. The largest marine park in Malaysia is due to more then a decade of work from governments authorities, civil society, NGOs as well as the civilians, and scientist. This is a massive leap forward in the conservation of Malaysia’s coastal and marine wildlife.
The new park is found in an area that is in the western Pacific Ocean, known as the Coral Triangle. This park will contain 1 million hectares of Coral reefs, seagrass beds and Mangrove forests this also includes more than 50 islands. This new park will cover some of the world’s biodiverse ecosystems, with this protection will allow the conservation of both these areas but also local communities found living within these biodiversity hot spots.
“After such a long effort, it is great to have achieved landmark protection for this rich home of marine biodiversity,” said Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma, CEO of WWF-Malaysia. “The Tun Mustapha Park is a global symbol of how we can collectively commit to serving nature and humanity.”
The Tun Mustapha Park has more then 250 species of hard corals, endangered green turtles, 360 species of fish, dugongs, primary rain forests, mangroves, and seabeds. These habitats will support not only the wildlife found in these areas, but also allow food security and livelihoods for the thousands of people who are found living in and around the park.
This park will bring legislation preventing the over fishing, polluting and using destructive fish techniques that are currently happening, allowing for sustainable management within these habitats. These management techniques will be a new approach for the area, it will allow for sustainable uses of its natural resources. This is especially important for the local communities now found with in the park. Allowing for activities such as fishing, a back bone for these communities, supporting 80,000 people in the coastal and island communities and generating 100 tones of fish a day, to continue sustainability, for generations to come.
The Tun Mustapha Park is testament to Malaysia’s commitment to the Coral Triangle Initiative, & their contribution toward increasing the global percentage of marine protected areas. The global significance in boosting the conservation of this biodiversity hotspots is vast, hopefully this is just one of the first large Marine Parks that we see opening this year, with the Tun Maustapha Park being an excellent example of how this can be done.
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