By JOSEPH KAOS Jr
KUALA TERENGGANU: Setiu Wetlands is on course to become Terengganu’s first state park following plans to protect the area’s unique ecosystem.
State chairman of science, green technology and water Datuk Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman said the Government was also aware of the wetlands huge ecotourism potential which could lead to benefits for the locals here.
“Turtle watching, honey harvesting and fishing are just among the many ecotourism activities that can be organised at Setiu Wetlands. Ecotourism can generate an alternative income for the locals, who mostly rely on the fishing sector as their main source of income,” he said at the opening of a national seminar of coastal forest conservation at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) here yesterday.
Ahmad Razif said that Setiu Wetlands was unique as it had nine interconnected ecosystems – the sea, beach, mudflat, lagoon, estuary, river, islands, coastal forest and mangrove forest.
“The state government therefore recommends that Setiu Wetlands be gazetted into a state park to protect the ecosystem,” he said.
Last week, World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia urged the state government to step up protection of Setiu Wetlands.
Its chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said the area was under threat due to degradation and reduced size of different wetlands habitats over the last few years.