MAINTAINING coral reefs is crucial as they serve as a habitat for small marine life.
Johor Fisheries Department director Zainudin Abd Wahab said preserving coral reefs would ensure the state has a sustainable supply of seafood besides promoting ecotourism.
“If coral reefs disappear, there will be no feeding and breeding grounds for marine life.
“So one of the tasks we do is to clear ghost nets, which are fishing equipment like nets and ropes that have been discarded in the ocean as they can trap and kill marine life,” he said.
Zainudin added that in line with Coral Triangle Day which was celebrated on June 9, the department had conducted joint clean-up activities with residents of Pulau Besar and Pulau Tinggi in Mersing.
“We managed to collect about 100 metres of ghost nets on both islands,” he said, adding that the programme was held 10 times every year.
They were joined by National Marine Park Research Centre, Selangor Fisheries Department, Negri Sembilan Fisheries Department, Melaka Fisheries Department, Tengah Island Conservation, Econinja and Reef Check Malaysia staff and volunteers.He said the department had also conducted a beach clean-up with Mara Youth Tourism Association in May.
“We had sharing sessions and highlighted the negative impact of ocean waste as well as our turtle conservation efforts,” he said.
Zainudin announced that the department was planning to release two unjam (fish aggregating devices) this year near Pulau Tinggi. — By REMAR NORDIN