Nation’s largest marine park opens in Sabah

KUDAT: Sabah has launched the Tun Mustapha Marine Park, the country’s largest marine park and it is now part of the massive Coral Triangle.

This marine park spreading almost 890,000ha from Kudat, Pitas and Kota Marudu will see the conservation and rehabilitation of ma­­rine lives, is just a step away from achieving a 10% conservation on seafront and marine lives by 2020.

The Coral Triangle is a marine area located in the western Pacific Ocean.

It includes the waters of Indo­nesia, Malaysia, the Phi­lip­pines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Coral Triangle is named for the staggering number of corals (nearly 600 different species of reef-building corals alone) that nurture six of the world’s seven marine turtle species and more than 2,000 species of reef fish.

The Coral Triangle also supports large populations of commercial tuna, fuelling a multi-billion dollar global tuna industry but is at risk due to non-sustainable fishing and other marine activities.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who made this announcement at the Kudat Festival, said that the gazetting of the Tun Mustapha Marine Park was proof of the government’s commitment to protect the environment.

He added that such a move would benefit villagers as more tourists would be interested to visit Sabah.

This, he said, would generate more tourism revenue for the go­vernment and more business opportunities for the people.

“Tourism is among the main sectors for Sabah and the country, and that is why it is important for us to ensure that our natural resources are protected for generations to come,” he said.

Musa also said that other countries were interested to learn Sabah’s conservation efforts and policies.

Tourism, Culture and Environ­ment minister Masidi Manjun, who was also present at the event, said the state’s main development agenda “is to see a balance with nature and conservation”.

“Sabah is pro-conservation, we want to make sure there’s a ba­lance between physical development and the environment,” he said.

Masidi said Sabah must ensure that it looked after its resources and ensure the people continue benefit from it via the tourism industry.

“We want the locals to give their cooperation to the state and Sabah Parks,” he added.