KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Parks hopes to see a rejuvenated marine ecosystem in the dive haven of Sipadan when it reopens at the end of this month.
Sabah Parks director Dr Maklarin Lakim said although a month might not seem enough time for the seabed to recover, it was better than taking no action at all.
"This one-month (break) is better than not taking any initiative to conserve and rest the marine ecosystem in Sipadan from scuba diving and other activities," he said when contacted on Tuesday (Nov 14).
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He said the very presence of humans in the marine environment disrupts the ecosystem.
"Thus, we need to take measures to let the area 'breathe' and rest. We need to reduce the stress on the ecosystem, just like during the Covid-19 pandemic when all non-essential activities were halted," he added.
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He said given time to recover, the marine ecosystem would be better able to withstand climate change and issues such as coral bleaching.
He said harm to marine ecosystems can be physical, such as coral bleaching and reef damage.
"It could also be non-physical, such as changes in the characteristics and behaviour of fish and other marine life, including reduced populations of certain species," Maklarin said.
On Nov 1, he announced the closure of Sipadan Island for a month to allow for its recovery following a consensus among tourism players and stakeholders in March.