MIRI: Sarawak Tourism Ministry sees a need to conduct a comprehensive study on the migration of endangered marine creatures in South China Sea.
Its Assistant Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said it was vital to gather accurate statistics on what species of marine creatures that ply these ocean routes and when.
He said the incident of a whale being washed up on a beach here on Thursday indicated that there were more of them swimming off the coast of Miri.
“My ministry wants to work with government maritime agencies to conduct a thorough study on the migration pattern of marine animals such as whales.
“We want to know their species and population and in what months they are here.
“The study is integral in line with the state’s aim to conserve marine lives as well as protect its waters,” Lee said.
“Marine conservation and offshore tourism can complement each other.
“There are exciting prospects for whale and shark-watching here.
“We already know that the waters of South China Sea off Kuching has many dolphins,” he added.
On Thursday, a 10m whale weighing over a tonne was found stranded on a beach in Kampung Siwak Bakam, 30km from here.
Miri Fire and Rescue Department personnel and Kampung Siwak Bakam villagers helped push the animal back to the sea.
Lee said the current prawning season in Miri waters might have lured the whale to swim close to the shoreline.