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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Preserving coral reefs in Pulau Payar.

Few months ago, my company makes a trip a.k.a scuba diving certification in Pulau Payar. It’s a very wonderful trip. At the end of the day 90% of the participant pass the test & received the license as Open Scuba Water course. Congratulation to all & thanks to my company for making such a wonderful activity.
This was not the 1st time to visit the Island. As a ‘anak langkawi’ I’ve been visiting the Island several times in fact before the place was open for public. There’s a lot of improvement noticed on the Island. Will comment some of the observation I’ve made during the two days visit.
Among the things I would like to comment are the presences of ‘white elephant’ projects on the Island. What were they thinking when approving such villa & chalet to be built on a Marine Park. From the feedback I received some of the coral reefs were damage when building material was brought in.
Another thing is, I’m not sure whether the marine parks impose charges to visit Pulau Payar. If not I think they can do so to cater the arising number of tourist to the areas. Its good that the authorities only allow two scuba diving operator.
Marine Park authorities should have put a sign for tourist discouraging them to feed the fish. Near beaches we can see people are feeding the small sharks & small fishes. This in fact can damage the ecosystems which will leads the fishes will be to dependent on the tourist for food.
The recent banned of some of the diversity in Pulau Payar are most welcome. During the Open Water course I see it from my eyes how some of the dive site experiencing ‘coral bleaching’ as well as depletion of coral reefs compared when I was there years ago. (to snorkel)
Below are among the suggestion to improve the situation on Payar Island :-
- Impose a rotation on the dive site (weekly schedule)
- Permanent banned of the dive site (by tourist) which having coral bleaching more than 20% of areas. Only allow research dive activity to check the extend of the damage. The chalet to be converted as information centre.
- Put up a signage not to allow feeding of the fish.
- For 1st timer diver or for conducting course purposes only allow certain sites for diving. I experience 1st hand that inexperience diver will only damage the corals by steeping on the coral. (Don’t make the coral as the victim due to our inexperience to control the bouncy).
- The unused chalet to use as research centre or exhibits area.
- Imposed charges for tourist who visits the place. $1.00 USD or RM 3.00 for locals.
- Limit the number of tourists visiting the island daily.
It was a very memorable experience. When you can go down as a scuba diver, you’ll learn to appreciate the biodiversity of the underwater world. So what can we do now to preserve it for future generations to come? Let us think & make a plan to make Pulau Payar coral reefs sustain for our children's children.
p/s: Official an OPEN WATER DIVER by PADI.

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