WHAT IS A MARINE PARK?
Marine Park is a sea zoned area that spans for a distance of two nautical miles from the lowest sea level, except in Kapas Island in Terengganu, Kuraman Island, Rusukan Besar Island and Rusukan Kecil Island in Labuan. These areas are zoned for a distance of 1 nautical mile from the lowest sea level.
Marine Parks have been established to protect and conserve various habitats and aquatic marine life. All activities damaging coral reefs and marine ecosystems are prohibited and illegal under the Fisheries Act 1985.
Today, the waters around Malaysia’s 42 islands are gazetted as Marine Parks.
Maintaining fishery resources:
- Coral reefs are important breeding grounds, food sources and habitats for important commercial fish. In Malaysia, 30% of the fish caught depends on coral reefs. The conservation of coral reefs indirectly helps the fisheries sector, protects fishermens’ jobs and ensures the continuity of food supply.
Maintaining biology diversities:
- Coral reefs are the richest marine ecosystems. The threat to coral reefs has a serious impact on the biodiversity of the world.
Protecting our waters:
- It serves as a barrier against coastal erosion from waves. 70-90% of wave energy is absorbed or deflected when it hits a coral reef. Dead or broken reefs will fertilise the beach and replace the sand that is washed away by the sea water.
- Become a source of attraction for scuba divers and snorkelers to explore the beauty of coral reefs. Good management and monitoring will preserve coral reefs as a sustainable source of ecotourism.
Food supply guarantee:
As a guarantee of food supply and sustainability of the fishing industry.
- Provides special protection to aquatic flora and fauna, protects, preserves and manages natural breeding sites and aquatic life habitats with special attention to unique, hard-to-find or endangered species of flora and fauna
- Provides opportunities and increases the survival rate of endangered aquatic life
- Encourage scientific study and research
- Maintain and increase the productivity and natural conditions of the ecosystem
- Regulate recreational activities and other activities to prevent the occurrence of continuous damage to the marine environment
- Classify Marine Park Waters into zones for the purpose as specified in paragraphs (1) to (5) above
Marine Parks are marine protected areas whereby activities that can damage coral reefs and their ecosystems are strictly prohibited and illegal under the Fisheries Act 1985. Such activities are:
- Taking, capturing or interfering with any marine resource whether alive or dead
- Carry out any type of water sports activities using high power boats
- Anchoring anchors in coral reef areas
- Step on or touch coral reefs
- Polluting or disposing any contaminants
- Own or use any fishing gears
- Building any structure in the waters of the Marine Park
- Carry out diving or snorkeling activities in the boat passage area
- Collecting corals, shells and marine organisms (either alive or dead)
While in the Marine Park area, only activities that do not damage the coral reef and its surroundings can be done. The activities are:
- Underwater photography
- Water recreational activities such as kayaking
Coral reef is:
- A living organism that looks like a jellyfish, under the group Cnidaria.
- Consists of two groups:
- Hard Coral
- Soft Coral
- Symbiosis with zooxanthellae produces Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) which forms coral.
- Coral eats at night using tentacles to catch food
- Reproduction: sexual and asexual (binary fission)
- Growth depends on type of coral:
- Slowest (0.5 cm per year) e.g: Massive Coral
- Fastest (10 cm per year) e.g: Branching Coral
- Growth rate is affected by environment factors
- Types of coral growth:
- Free living
Establishment of marine protected areas in Peninsular Malaysia under the Department of Fisheries Malaysia under the direction of former Y.A.B Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
The Fisheries (Prohibited Areas) Regulations were enacted under the Fisheries Act 1963.
Pulau Redang, Terengganu has been declared as a Fisheries Prohibited Area (FPA).
Declaration of 22 islands for the states of Kedah, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor as FPA under the Fisheries Act 1963.
Declaration of Pulau Talang-Talang Besar, Pulau Talang-Talang Kecil and Puau Satang Besar as FPA with the enactment of the Fisheries Act 1985.
The National Advisory Council of Marine Parks and Marine Reserves was established under the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry through the Fisheries Act 1985.
The Marine Parks and Marine Reserves Trust Fund has been established.
Pulau Payar Marine Park Centre, Kedah commenced operations.
Pulau Redang Marine Park Centre, Terengganu commenced operations.
Gazetting of 38 islands in the states of Kedah, Terengganu, Pahang, Johor and the Federal Territory of Labuan under the Marine Park Malaysia Establishment Order 1994.
The Marine Park Malaysia (Pulau Payar) Establishment Order 1989 was revoked.
Pulau Tioman Marine Park Centre, Pahang commenced operations.
Pulau Nyireh and Pulau Tenggol Terengganu were officially gazetted as marine parks under the Marine Park Establishment Order 1994 (Amendment) 1998 which makes the number of marine parks in Malaysia as many as 40 islands.
Marine Park Conservation Fees created.
Pulau Tinggi Marine Park Centre, Johor commenced operations.
Marine Parks Establishment Order 1994: Pulau Kuraman Marine Park boundaries was amended from two (2) miles nautical to one (1) mile nautical from the low tide.
Pulau Redang Marine Park Centre, Terengganu has begin operating.
The Marine Park and Recreational Fisheries Division of the Department of Fisheries Malaysia was transferred to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) as a Marine Parks Section with a strength of 86 cadre posts.
Vision, Mission, Objectives and Functions of the Marine Parks Section was formed under the Ministry of NRE.
On 14th June 2006, the Cabinet Meeting approved the establishment of a new department responsible for managing and administering the National Marine Protected Areas, especially the Marine Parks of Malaysia. This department is known as the Department of Marine Park Malaysia.
Through Treasury Warrant E.51 in 2007, the Treasury approved the establishment of the Department of Marine Park Malaysia (DMPM) with the creation of 154 various new positions of service scheme and grades adding to the 86 existing positions. The approval of the new additional positions made a total of 240 positions for the entire DMPM staffs.
On 4th February 2008, the waters of Pulau Yu Kecil and Pulau Yu Besar in Terengganu were gazetted as
marine parks, resulting in a total number of 42 island waters that have been gazetted.
Tuan Haji Abdul Jamal bin Mydin was appointed as The First Director-General of the Department of Marine Park Malaysia.
Y. Bhg. Dato ’ Dr. Sukarno bin Wagiman was appointed as the second Director-General of the Department of Marine Park Malaysia. The occurrence of widespread coral bleaching was scientifically recorded for the first time in Malaysia by the Department of Marine Park Malaysia.
The names of the islands which waters are gazetted as Marine Parks through the Malaysian Marine Parks Establishment (Amendment) Order 2012 were updated. This amendment was made because it was found that the names of the gazetted islands are not in line with the official names of the islands.
The first marine biodiversity expedition of the Department of Marine Park Malaysia was organized in collaboration with MOSTI, and local universities. This scientific expedition was carried out in the waters of Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory of Labuan.
Malaysia was accepted as a member of the International Coral Reef Initiative, whereby the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Department of Marine Park Malaysia became the focal point.
The Fee Order (Marine Parks Malaysia) 2017 was enforced.
Amendments to Conservation Fee Rates and Activity Fees were introduced.
The Department of Marine Park Malaysia was transferred to the Department of Fisheries Malaysia in October 2018.
The Fisheries Resource Management Branch (FRMB) was moved to the Division of Marine Park.
The Division of Marine Park was branded as the Marine Park and Resources Management Division.