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Scuba Symphony and Berjaya clean up Redang

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Scuba Symphony and Berjaya clean up Redang

Post Number:#1  Postby timyang » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:42 am

Malaysia’s coral reefs have been under a fair bit of stress lately. Crowds. Rubbish. Bleaching. You name it.

As the diving season wound down, it was no surprise to see Berjaya Redang Resort rallying divers for its Redang Island Clean-up Day. The surprise was that they managed to get a contingent of celebrities, consisting of both divers and non-divers, to turn up at the island, off Terengganu, to do their bit.

Their primary goal was to get rid of the crown-of-thorns (COT) starfish that had infested the dive sites and were adding to the bleaching concerns reported months earlier. The strategy was simple — divers were to work in pairs; one holding a mesh bag open while the other stabbed or scooped up the thorny critters.

Care had to be exercised as a severed appendage from this animal could result in a COT offspring!

The first day yielded a good catch of about 100 COTs from Pulau Chupak and Pulau Lima. Later that night, we retired to the function room where the Scuba Symphony team gave tips on underwater photography. John Chew, PADI’s regional manager, also gave an insightful presentation on current trends in reef conservation. He highlighted the activities of BleachWatch, a coral monitoring programme at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and shared the methods that could be used by local divers.

The following day saw divers trudging down for a final round of clean-up. We dived as far as Teluk Mak Simpan and hauled up 137 COTs while managing to squeeze in a quick leisure dive. We even participated in an underwater photography competition (for those fortunate enough to own their own underwater photography gear).

Meanwhile the non-divers and a representative from Emerson, an oil and gas company, visited Sekolah Kebangsaan Pulau Redang. They met about 250 students, engaged in some knowledge sharing and handed out goodie bags when it was all over.

In total, 237 COTs were hauled ashore, not to mention 50 bags of rubbish from the surrounding beaches. The haul of COTs alone would have made the trip a success but the weekend was more than just about the critters.

Many newfound fans of marine conservation were keen to spread the word. Among them was singer-songwriter Tan Chung Liang, 30, who had once worked in Redang 10 years ago. He took a long break from the water after that — until this weekend.

“It’s like being amongst like-minded people,” he said. “My previous trips were always leisure-based. This time it was with a purpose.”

The other celebrities included actor Tony Eusoff, Jehan Miskin, Elaine Daly, The Star columnist Dawn Jeremiah, TV host Zarina Zainal, radio personality Non and TV host Charmaine Poo.

The event saw the celebrities enthusiatically doing their part alongside their fans. It may have been just another dive but the experience was clearly enlightening for some.

“I had heard about the crown-of-thorns but to finally see them was an eye-opener, especially seeing bag after bag being carried out of the ocean,’’ commented Tan, who declared he had finally been converted to the cause.

“Whether it’s helping out or spreading the message, I’m keen to leave a mark on the environment and share the experience with my friends,” he said.
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Re: Scuba Symphony and Berjaya clean up Redang

Post Number:#2  Postby nglg212 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:42 pm

definitely need more people to involve and need to promote awareness also to the people...:)
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Re: Scuba Symphony and Berjaya clean up Redang

Post Number:#3  Postby Din » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:08 pm

Hi Tim

If you happen to know of any cleanup event in the future, please let me know. I will love to organize a group up to help. Tioman and Dayang are literally our home too. I did a few Tioman LOB and I must say the reef is not in good shape. There are heaps of COT especially around Burong and there are few dives where you dont see anything at all except for a few small fishes. Perhaps, we can collaborate and do something about this. Divers in Singapore owe it to this two islands.

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Re: Scuba Symphony and Berjaya clean up Redang

Post Number:#4  Postby ericliow » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:17 pm

are we really need to kill all these COT? how about sea turtle and parrotfish, they kill coral too?
just my 2 cents and wonder............
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Re: Scuba Symphony and Berjaya clean up Redang

Post Number:#5  Postby Din » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:10 pm

There is always a divided views on this issue but I believe everything have a purpose in the ecosytem including the COT but too much of them will wipe out our fragile reef system. They are like the cancer of the reef.  Each COT can eat up one square meter of coral and that is awful lot of corals. It's not their fault though, it ours. I've read somewhere that COT outbreaks is mainly due to high levels of nutrients in the water. This is due to human activities offshore or water runoff. Also, the loss of its natural predators which human collect as food such as triton shell, trigger fish and prawns contribute to their outbreak.

I think its alright to have a few COT in the reef to control the reef species but too much of them is not a good sign. If there are too many of them, I dont see why we cant kill them to help our reef from dying. Of course there will be other opinion on this, lets hear it.
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Re: Scuba Symphony and Berjaya clean up Redang

Post Number:#6  Postby timyang » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:25 pm

Project Aware is usually the coordinator for clean ups.

Have a look at their blog and calendar. It's new, but I think they use it to update divers about future projects, including those in Malaysia.

http://projectaware.wordpress.com/project-aware-conservation-calendar/

Or just contact Project Aware and signal your interest. I'm sure they can help put you in touch with the right people.

http://www.projectaware.org/protect/index.php
Last edited by SuperAdmin on Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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