KOTA KINABALU, MALAYSIA – Eleven officers from Sabah Parks attended a training about monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. The training was held from 26 – 30 October 2015 and covered topics that would aid Sabah Park officers in protecting marine and coastal resources and enforcing laws for Ecosystems Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) in the area of Sabah.
The event was led by Captain Captain Wan Abdul Fatah Bin Wan Omar (MCS Specialist of Malaysia, RETA 7813) and Dr. Annadel Cabanban (Regional EAFM Specialist, RETA 7813). The trainees came from various districts of Sabah Parks which included Kuala Penyu, Sandakan, Kota Kinabalu, Ranau, Semporna, and Kudat.
The area of high biodiversity and marine resources in Sabah that are in the Coral Triangle is located from the northern region of Borneo (see map below) to south of the peninsula jutting out between the Sulu and Sulawesi Seas.
Three of the five marine parks under Sabah Parks are located here: Tun Sakaran Marine Park; Turtle Islands Park; and soon-to-be established Tun Mustapha Park. The Sugod Island Marine Conservation Area, established under the Sabah Wildlife Department, is also located here.
The East Coast, as it is commonly called, has the large tracks of mangroves, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. The fishing grounds are also the source of food for Sabah, Peninsular Malaysia, and other countries in the region. Poaching of fishes and marine turtles in the East Coast of Sabah occurs. Enforcement of national laws and proper procedure in apprehending violators are important ways to bring down Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing.
MCS is important to reduce poaching in the marine parks and adjacent waters. With MCS, the objectives of food security and reduction of poverty can be met.
MCS is an essential tool when it comes to making sure people are following fishery management laws. This is particularly important to complement management of marine protected areas where fishing is prohibited. This training is under the Coastal and Marine Resources Management in the Coral Triangle – Southeast Asia (CTI-SEA) project. It aims to improve the capabilities of the Sabah government to effectively manage and police its protected areas against illegal fishing activities.
Besides lectures about operating procedures and relevant fishery laws, a practical training session on was also done where the participants went on supervised patrols in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. During this training, eight boats were observed fishing illegally within the protected area and they were able to apply the procedures and laws learned during the course of the training.
The techniques learned from this training will be used by Sabah Parks to enforce laws within their marine protected areas. The proposed Tun Mustapha Park is part of Sabah’s efforts in order to conserve habitats and threatened species , reduce poverty, and develop sustainably.
Written by Panji Brotoisworo with inputs from Dr. Annadel Cabanban, Regional EAFM Specialist of Coral Triangle Initiative – Southeast Asia (RETA 7813)