The Largest Marine Park in Sabah.
Tun Sakaran Marine Park
Semporna Islands Darwin Project (SIDP)
Community Action for Sustainable Use and Conservation of Coral Reefs".
Tun Sakaran Marine Park's project:
Objectives of the Semporna Islands Darwin Project:
to protect the area's natural features;
to promote economic development;
to develop sustainable resource use.
The Tun Sakaran Marine Park does not include Sipadan Island which is far apart although they are both accessed from Semporna. The islands of the Tun Sakaran Marine park are only 20 kms off shore.
Tun Sakaran Marine Park is not a national park. It is a state park under the jurisdiction of Sabah rather than the Malaysian federal government. The management is under Sabah Parks Authority.
To protect fish stocks a zoning system is introduced : 1) no take zones, 2) general use zones and 3) preservation zones.
There are about 2,000 people on the eight islands of Tun Sakaran
Marine Park which covers some 350 sq km, most of whom are fishermen and seaweed
farmers. They rely on the marine resources and use them in an
unsustainable way such as destructive fishing practices in bombing and cyanide
Seaweed farming has great potential and can be developed into a livelihood for many.
The same is true for sea ranching activities such as giant clam farming and abalone breeding.
There is also a longer term plan for the local island
communities to get more involved in the tourism industry with homestay
programmes, employment as trekking guides and other ancillary roles.
|The marine park is 350 square
kilometers in size and comprises eight islands,
the largest one being Bodgaya.
Close to half, or 163 square kilometers, is covered with reefs and studies have shown that reefs in the park extend from sea level to about 20 meters in depth in the western side and more than 50 meters deep in the eastern part.
The site is a global marine biodiversity hotspot as it has species diversity higher than any other site in Malaysia. There are a recorded 544 coral reef fish, 255 hard coral and 70 soft coral species. It is also home to the hawksbill and the green turtle.
SEMPORNA town gained worldwide popularity for its calm turquoise waters filled with natural wonders.
It is here that conservationists are working with local communities to tell them about alternative livelihoods, now that they live within a marine park.
Villagers concerned their loss of traditional fishing grounds and
restrictions on fishing methods
Fishermen have for generations dived into the waters to collect clams or harvest
colorful corals which become decorative pieces on shelves.
Project leader Dr Elizabeth Wood, a scientist attached to the Marine Conservation Society, says more than half of villagers met were unaware they were living inside the boundaries of a marine park gazette four years ago.
As a result of 15 years of hard work and lobbying efforts by the Sabah Parks, the Marine Conservation Society and WWF-Malaysia, the Tun Sakaran Marine Park was finally gazette as a protected marine area in 2005.
Part of the larger Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion (SSME) shared by Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia, this 350 sq km park - the largest marine park in Sabah - promises to protect critical habitat and restore depleted wildlife populations.
The Semporna Islands Darwin Project (SIDP)
The Semporna Islands Darwin Project (SIDP) is an initiative involving local communities in coral reef conservation in the recently gazette Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Sabah, Malaysia.
The project is managed by the Marine Conservation Society in collaboration with Sabah Parks, and the aim is to protect the outstanding features and biodiversity of the site while promoting sustainable use of natural resources, economic development and traditional culture.
Other organizations involved in the programme include the
1) Fisheries Department Sabah
The project has been grant-aided by the Darwin Initiative, through funding from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and with additional support from the North of England Zoological Society, International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), Lighthouse Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Wild Asia and Reef Conservation-UK.
Overview & Objectives for Semporna Islands Darwin Project 2005 -2008
Community Action for Sustainable Use and Conservation of Coral Reefs is a 3-year project (2005-2008) being implemented in the Tun Sakaran Marine Park (TSMP) in Sabah , Malaysia . It has been grant-aided by the Darwin Initiative through funding from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and is managed by the Marine Conservation Society in collaboration with Sabah Parks. Others involved include the Sabah Fisheries Department, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and WWF-Malaysia.
The Darwin project takes forward recommendations made in the draft Management Plan for the TSMP, produced during the EC funded ‘Semporna Islands Project (1998-2001). The short name for the current programme is the ‘Semporna Islands Darwin Project’ (SIDP), in acknowledgement of the close links with the Phase 1 work.
The TSMP presents a new challenge because it is the first marine protected area in Malaysia where local people live within the park boundaries, use the resources and own some of the land. This calls for a different and collaborative approach to management if the objectives for the site are to be achieved. The other main challenge is to tackle the legacy of many years of unregulated, and in some cases, destructive fishing and to encourage alternative livelihoods which take pressure off the reefs.
The Darwin Project runs for three years, but the aim is that its legacy will last for very much longer and will be of value in a wider context than the TSMP. The main purpose of the project is to protect coral reef biodiversity and establish a programme for sustainable use of reef resources within the Tun Sakaran Marine Park . The project slogan ‘Our Park, Our Responsibility’ reflects the community approach to management that is essential if the Park is to be a success. For further information go to ‘ Community Activities’.
Specific objectives of SIDP are as follows: