Preserving Coral Reefs through Conservation

A diver ‘planting’ corals on the ocean floor around Mantanani Islands, Sabah.
A diver ‘planting’ corals on the ocean floor around Mantanani Islands, Sabah.

Preserving Coral Reefs through Conservation

Malaysia is home to many beautiful islands, found both on the west and east coast. A number of them make great holiday destinations with beautiful beaches, diving and snorkelling opportunities given the crystal clear waters and colourful coral reefs. However, keeping them in their pristine conditions require much effort from the community. Having lived by the coast in Kota Kinabalu from a young age, Nadhirah Rifai has always had an affinity with the ocean and marine life. Through her adventures underwater, she recognised that the creatures that lived under the surface had to be protected. Nadhirah is an Assistant Programme Manager with Reef Check Malaysia (RCM). Registered in 2007, the RCM was set-up to engage with local communities across the Peninsula and on Mantanani Islands, a small group of three islands off the north-west coast of the state of Sabah, to raise awareness for the importance of coral reefs and the threats it faces.

For Hari Hasanah, Reef Check Malaysia will be gathering the diving community in Sabah to plant more corals on Mantanani Islands. The volunteers from the community will also be conducting an underwater clean-up, as part of their conservation efforts. RCM’s initiatives to sustainably manage the reefs include regular surveys to monitor the health of the underwater ecosystem. Reef Check trainers and divers go for regular trainings to stay updated and better equip themselves. RCM also looks at improving management and reducing local impacts to reefs. “It’s a great opportunity to be part of this network and work with other EcoDivers and partners to take care of the reefs around the country. Instead of solving problems with the reefs when they occur, we aim to get involved from the start,” said Nadhirah.

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