The marine parks project aims to protect biodiversity, enhance the management capacity and sustainable island management.Photo from Redang Island Rendezvous
As the project has multiple stakeholders (local people, state and federal governments), the main challenge was to get everybody together to speak a 'common language'.
"To a certain extent, we have managed to cross this hurdle through the Rakan Park (in Pulau Tioman) and Redang Reef Rangers (Pulau Redang). It would be easier if we can engage the local community to be our 'eyes' and 'ears'".
These three islands: Pulau Redang (Terengganu), Pulau Tioman (Pahang) and Pulau Sibu-Tinggi (Johor) were selected as pilot sites for a US$2 million from Global Environment Facilities (GEF) of UNDP because of three different scenarios.
Tioman is advanced in terms of tourism with more than 200,000 visitors a year. Redang is rather moderate at that time when it was picked for this marine project. But now the number of visitors is almost 200,000 a year.
Pulau Sibu-Tinggi, has not much tourism now. In marine conservation terms, less people would be good but without tourists, there would be problems for the islanders in terms of job opportunities. They may resort to fishing and alternative livelihood will have to be found for them.
DMPM's Marine Parks Project Director, Rahim Gor Yaman, who has been involved in the Marine Parks project since the planning stage shared his experience in rehabilitating a damaged marine park.
At Pasir Akar in Pulau Redang, "there was a small cove and many boats would take refuge from the storm and when they anchor, huge areas of coral reefs were destroyed. The place is just next to a village.
"Looking at the damage, we had to close the area in 1990 and by 2000, we noticed the corals have re-grown. It has not been re-inhibited and we have heard comments from people to let the area as it is. Now the place has become a research area for marine park".
Full article on the wildsingapore news blog.