Shark and Ray Initiative
The bad weather and the 58-metre depth registered on the echo sounder didn’t stop the two men from lowering two Baited Remote Underwater Videos (BRUVs), each weighing 10kg and equipped with a GoPro camera. Built locally, the pyramid-shaped metal frame also holds a bait canister and is attached to a pair of floats by rope. BRUV records video footage of marine life, and provides baseline information for effective management of sharks.
“Weights anchor the BRUVs so they don’t drift away or flip upside down.”
After 1½ hours, they pulled the heavy BRUVs by hand. It paid off, as they recorded three giant groupers estimated at around 30-100kg each, lured by the finely chopped fish (sardines / tuna) and squid bait.
“This got everyone excited, including the boat crew!”
TMP is Malaysia’s largest marine protected area, measuring almost 900,000 hectares and spans across three northern coastal districts – Kudat, Kota Marudu, and Pitas in northern Sabah. It provides livelihood for 85,000 residents, and is along the migratory path for endangered sea turtles, whales, dugongs, Irrawaddy dolphins and others.
Throughout 15 April to 10 May, Adam and Abdul Rahman deployed BRUV 35 times at 31 sites within TMP at Kukuban, Mandidara, Malawali, Maliangin, Banggi, Sibogo, and Balambangan islands.
“I was disappointed to not spot a single shark in the BRUV, but we did spot dolphins while en route to Balambangan Island, so that gave me hope that our BRUV might capture sharks one day,” Adam mused with a smile.
Adam Junaidi Payne
Marine Conservation Officer, Marine Programme Kudat
About the contributor:
Adam Junaidi Payne has been in WWF-Malaysia for almost three years and is currently based in Kudat, Sabah as WWF-Malaysia’s marine conservation officer. His deep interest in fishing has led him to this path of marine conservation. Adam’s work includes constant community and stakeholder engagements, data collection, and patrolling within the Tun Mustapha Park. The drastic decline of marine life and marine habitat loss in Malaysia drives Adam to keep fighting for marine conservation.