Some children in the proposed Tun Mustapha Park have to take the boat to school.
KOTA KINABALU: Efforts for the establishment of a marine park in northern Sabah has been given a boost with RM138,000 grant to WWF Malaysia.
The financial contribution from the Malaysian Wildlife Conservation Foundation (MWCF) would go towards gazetting and managing of the proposed Tun Mustapha Park (TMP)
The specific aim of the MWCF funds are to develop and implement collaborative enforcement between the enforcement agencies, such as Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Department of Fisheries Sabah (DOFS), Marine Police, Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD).
Also involved were local community representatives (honorary wildlife wardens and community groups) in the proposed TMP.
TMP enforcement will address issues of the use of small mesh size in fishing gear; use of high light intensity in purse seiners; illegal trawling in non-trawl areas; direct take of turtles and poaching of turtle eggs; illegal sand mining; and fish bombing activities, among others.
“WWF-Malaysia appreciates the funding as it will go a long way towards the work we are doing for the gazettement and management of Tun Mustapha Park,” said WWF Malaysia executive director/CEO Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma.
“The money will also enable local community representatives to receive training as Honorary Wildlife Wardens (HWW) from the SWD,” he said.
“These HWWs will participate in regular monthly patrols set up jointly with enforcement agencies to check for illegal encroachment or activities in the proposed TMP,” added Dr Dionysius.
Community support and participation in the establishment of a marine protected area (MPA) was important to ensure the success of the MPA.
Communities that are empowered to manage their resources would ensure the success of an MPA and its effective management, he said.
Through active participation and involvement, the local communities in the TMP would be encouraged to comply with management plans and regulations that are being established for the park.
In March 2003, the Government of Sabah approved a move to gazette the proposed 1mil-hectare TMP located at the northern part of Sabah.
The park was also known as the Kudat-Banggi Priority Conservation Area (PCA); one of the key areas identified under the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion as being globally significant for its high biodiversity and rich natural resources.
Lying at the apex of the Coral Triangle, TMP harbours one of the richest marine flora and fauna complexes in the world and is also home to more than 80,000 coastal dwellers that depend on a healthy and sustainable supply of marine resources.