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Published: Sunday June 9, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday June 9, 2013 MYT 1:03:11 PM

Cyanide fishing killing corals

KUALA LUMPUR: Some fishermen are still using cyanide in parts of Malaysia’s coral “Golden Triangle”, which has been recognised as having richer marine biodiversity than the Great Barrier Reef.

The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry said it was concerned that if these fishermen continued to resort to such dangerous methods, it could cause long-term damage to its fragile ecosystem.

“We are particularly concerned over some areas near Sabah, where the Golden Triangle is situated, as some of the fishermen are still doing cyanide fishing.

“It should be seen as a direct threat to the fragile ecosystem in the Golden Triangle, which hosts more than 5,000 species of fish as well as over 500 coral species,” said national oceanography directorate undersecretary Prof Datuk Dr Nor Aieni Mokhtar at the World Oceans Day and Coral Triangle Day celebration at Aquaria KLCC, here yesterday.

The Coral Triangle is the nursery of seas – sometimes referred to as the Amazon of the Seas – providing grounds and migratory routes for commercially-valuable open ocean species, and hosting about 76% of the world’s coral species as well as 37% of its reef fish species.

It is a vast ocean expanse that geographically spreads across six countries in South-East Asia and the Pacific, including Malaysia, Indo-nesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste.

The Government, said Dr Nor Aieni, remained committed to becoming a “watchdog” of the coral reef ecosystem and was formulating a more systematic approach to monitor the situation.

“Most importantly, we prefer to protect our reefs in a natural manner by working with other governmental agencies such as Sirim to put artificial reefs in the surrounding area.

“On an average, the coral reefs grow about 1mm per year and it is vital to create the optimum spawning ground to ensure that the current ecosystem will not be disrupted,” she said.

For the first time, Malaysia, she said, would be organising the Golden Coral Triangle Initiative Conference from tomorrow to deliberate on the measures taken to conserve the area in a sustainable manner.

“We will identify the necessary areas and other initiatives that could be considered by the authorities, including gazetting parts of the areas,” she said.

Tags / Keywords: Nation, News, Malaysia coral golden triangle, World Ocean s Day


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