|Pulau Banggi is an island located North East off Kudat town.
To get there, you will have to board a ferry at Kudat for the island.
There are 15 villages on this island and the natives are called Bonggi
People. The Orang Sama are also found here and are known as Sea Gypsies or Sea
Bajau. Population of 14,000 (2000). Live here is very basic, no television, no
internet and no hand phones. Water is mostly from wells.
Seaweed farming is initiative by the University of Malaysia at Sabah (UMS). This
is the region where Pacific and Indian Ocean biospheres meet. Most of the
extensive coral reefs of the Banggi Region are still undamaged by the
destructive fishing methods that have marred many reefs in Southeast Asia.
They exhibit the wide range of species diversity that Borneo is famous for.
Several species of marine algae can be seen here in the wild as well as on the
seaweed farms developing in the region. The diverse population of corals support
hundreds of species of colorful coral dwelling fish and invertebrates and are
intermingled with several species of mollusks including giant clams. Octopus can
also be found here. Sponges and crinoids are found intermingled with corals or
near coral patches. Diving activity is year round in the Banggi Region and sea
surface temperatures are generally in the range of 25-30°C. Average visibility
is in the range of 10-15 meters. Sea temperatures are at their lowest between
November and February.
As reported in the local papers, there is a proposal for "Tun Mustapha Marine
Park" in 2005 and hopefully it will materialize by 2008.
In 2003 the Sabah government declared its intention to gazette the area as a
marine park (Daily Express 2002). The proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park will be
a revolution for marine conservation and fisheries management in Sabah and
Malaysia. This project aims to support the development of the park and,
ultimately, restored fish populations and a healthy ecosystem to these globally
At over 1 million hectares, Tun Mustapha Marine Park has the potential to be
Southeast Asia’s largest marine park. As well as providing protection for coral
reefs and mangrove forests, the waters are home to populations of endangered
dugongs and sea turtles. The Balabac Straits, passing along the northern edge of
the area, is a major migration route for marine mammals, fish and larvae between
the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. Within the three districts which encompass
these waters (Kudat, Marudu, Pitas) thousands of fishermen make a living through
substance and commercial fishing.
The proposal will improve the economic situation of the island's inhabitants
and at the same time preserve and protect its pristine waters from the
destructive practices of fish bombing and pollution from unregulated activities
fuel and waste discharge into the sea by boat owners.
Local inhabitants would be incorporated into the management of the proposed
park which will cover 1.03 million hectares making it the largest marine park in
Sabah, Malaysia and the region. This park will comprises 50 islands, including
Banggi, which at 440.07 sq km is also the largest island in Malaysia. Since the
proposal, many research teams have conducted studies on marine life related
topics and surveys undertaken in the area of the proposed park.
Among the proposed projects which required funding were:
• Continued inventory of marine and terrestrial biodiversity;
• Developing alternative livelihood opportunities for the local community such
as seaweed cultivation and giant clam rearing;
• Surveys on migrating species
• Educational and awareness programmes as policies and regulations for the
proposed park need to be understood and respected by the local people.
The Banggi Island region is the epi-centre of marine biodiversity in the world.
In 2006, under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), The State Government has also
agreed for 4,500 hectares in Pulau Banggi to be developed by Felcra Berhad for
commercial rubber plantation, whereby 1,000 hardcore poor will stand to benefit.
Some RM153million has been approved to initiate the first phase of development,
which when fully implemented would create jobs for 2,000 locals.