TMP commitment at the World Parks Congress 2014
He explained that in terms of reefs and marine protection, in 1977, the Turtle Islands Park was gazetted in Sandakan. It is home to two species of turtles – Hawksbills and Green – that lay eggs on three islands in the park; namely Selingan, Gulisan and Bakungan Kecil. In the last 14 years, over 16 million hatchlings have been released to the sea. Turtle Islands Park formed part of the first trans-boundary protected area in world, established between Malaysia and the Philippines for turtle protection.
In 2004, Malaysia signed the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion conservation plan along with Indonesia and the Philippines. In 2009, that commitment was expanded to the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security when Malaysia together with Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste signed on to safeguard the world’s richest marine resources and ensure the livelihoods and security for millions in the region.
Malaysia’s largest marine protected area – The Tun Sakaran Marine Park was also gazetted in 2004. The humphead wrasse, a CITES listed endangered fish species, was banned from export out of Sabah in 2010. We proposed to ban shark hunting and finning in Sabah back in 2012. Our enforcement agencies have also apprehended numerous foreign vessels transporting illegally caught endangered marine turtles and other species in the past decade.
Sabah Parks’ commitment to protect the marine environment did not stop there. In 2003, the Tun Mustapha Park was proposed by the State Government of Sabah shortly after it was recognized as a globally significant priority marine conservation area. The proposed Park will protect almost 1 million hectares of coral reef, mangrove, seagrass and productive fishing grounds in over 50 islands.
YM Dato’ Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin stated that once gazetted, the TMP will be evidence of Malaysia’s commitment to the Coral Triangle Initiative and contribution towards meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Target of least 10% marine areas protected and managed.