Monday, 7 December 2015

Marine Week: Day 1

With Shark Week and Turtle Week proving to be such a huge success, this year we decided to hold our inaugural Scuba Junkie Marine Week! The focus will be 'Corals in Crisis' and we shall be hosting our usual plethora of activities focusing on beach and reef cleans, presentations, community engagement and pub quizzes!!

The coral reef is important for many reasons and it's crucial that we start to change our habits and start to protect what is at the core of one of the most important ecosystems in the world.

Our great friends over at Green Semporna have once again given an inspirational amount of commitment and involvement. They visited the resort and helped us in gathering the kids of the local community to involve them and educate them. Activities ran through out the day and they included educational presentations, as well as fun and games aimed at inspiring kids to want to help. The atmosphere at the resort was electric as the kids took over, throwing themselves into the activities. They got stuck into a beach clean in the morning and collected over 50 bags of rubbish from our beaches and the local village! As we all know, plastics and other detritus entering our waters can be hugely detrimental to our marine creatures and reef system, and beach cleans are a quick and easy way of negating some of the damage done. 

The kids painted a beautiful mural depicting the underwater world, which is currently on display at the resort. If more of our future generation learn about the underwater environment then we can potentially inspire them to want to take an active part in protecting it, opening up the possibilities of potential employment for these children in the tourism industry.

Educating the up and coming generation is key to creating change. If we can inspire just one child to want to protect to coral reefs then we consider the day to be a success (but hopefully it will be more than just one!!)

Green Semporna are a non-profit organisation that aim to create and expand community involvement in protecting the environment. We have been working closely with them over the past few years, and they show a real commitment to wanting to create change. The success of our turtle and shark weeks has certainly been, in part, due to their involvement.

It seems that the animal world could not wait to celebrate with us! We had one of our last turtle nests, of what has been the most successful nesting year, hatch. Guests joined us as we released 80 hatchlings into the ocean. The stunning evening sky acted as a great back drop to, what is always, a incredible event.

In the evening one of the managers of the Mabul Beach Resort Steve, along with one of our on-site Environmental Officers Dave gave the opening ceremony. This highlighted Scuba Junkies continued involved in conservation and how it has been at the heart of the Scuba Junkie ethos since its opening over 10 years ago. This was followed by two extremely informative presentations from Poh Leem and Hui Ling from WWF Malaysia. 

Poh Leem gave a presentation on Marine Spatial Planning (MPS). MPS is a programme where the resources of the ocean are organised and spread out. It allows the public to have an input in the sustainable future of the ocean. Currently, there is no planning  or allocation of our ocean resources and there are huge conflicts over them. Consequently they are being sucked dry. We are pushing the boundaries and if we do not begin to organise them, we will be left with nothing. Pollution, habitat destruction and unsustainable fishing practices are all reasons why we need to start implementing MPS across the globe. There are huge benefits to this programme, not just ecologically, but also economically and socially. If we protect our oceans now they will be able to sustain for generations to come. If we continue to destroy them they way we currently are, sadly they will not.

Our second presentation of the evening provided information on Hard Coral Mapping. There are many corals that are currently listed as 'vulnerable' or 'near threatened' on the IUCN Red List. WWF have chosen species of Mushroom Coral to collect data on and gain better understanding of its population. They ask that those diving in the Semporna provide them with information on mushroom corals. Part of the mapping project also involved community involvement and workshops that highlight the importance of coral reefs. They plan to share this information with local authorities and the Town Planning Department. 

We are hugely grateful to Green Semporna and WWF Malaysia for their involvement and contribution to one of our most successful opening days to date! 

Stay posted for more updates! 

Facts about Whip Coral:

  • This is a long unbranched coral that can extend to over 3 m
  • The colour can vary from light green, yellow, brown to grey.
  • The skeleton of the coral is black, it is the soft bodied polyps of the coral that give it its colour
  • Many corals can retract their polyps, this coral can only partially retract - this gives it a barbed appearance 
  • If you look closely, sometime you can see tiny whip coral partner shrimp living on it! 

No comments:

Post a Comment