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Sarawak proposing new marine park in Kuala Lawas

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Sarawak proposing new marine park in Kuala Lawas

Post Number:#1  Postby timyang » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:17 pm

KUALA LAWAS in Limbang is expected to be the next national park covering aquatic and marine areas in Sarawak.

Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) general manager Wilfred Landong said the area had been identified and the proposal to gazette it as a Totally Protected Area (TPA) had been submitted to the Controller’s Office for further action.

“We have proposed it to be gazetted as a TPA because of the diversity in marine life and it is a very important habitat for endangered species like dugongs, dolphins and turtles,” he told The Star during a break for the 10th Hornbill Workshop in Miri yesterday.

Other national parks covering aquatic and marine areas are Similajau (Bintulu), Miri-Sibuti, Loagan Bunut (Miri), Tanjung Datu, Talang Satang, Kuching Wetland (Kuching), Maludam (Sri Aman) and Rajang Mangroves (Sibu).

Landong said SFC and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) had also planned a long-term collaboration to monitor and conduct research on the marine biodiversity and habitats, particularly on seagrass, dugongs, turtles and fishery resources in the area.

Earlier, UMS marine mammal research unit head Dr Saifullah A Jaaman said Lawas, located in the southwest section of the Brunei Bay, had a unique and special marine ecosystem which consisted of mangrove forests, seagrass beds, coral reefs, estuaries, sandy beaches, mud flats and continental slopes.

He said the waters were known to support eight seagrass species from two families and a total of 60 species of marine fishes from 35 families.

“The green and hawksbill turtles and Irrawaddy dolphins are large marine species commonly seen in the area.

“Three aerial (2001, 2007, 2008) sighting surveys conducted for marine mammals found that a viable population of the vulnerable dugongs inhabited these waters,” he said during his presentation on Ecology and Conservation of Marine Biodiversity and Seagrass Habitat in the Waters of Lawas yesterday.

Saifullah said the survival of dugongs in Kuala Lawas depended on seagrass meadows, its main food.

He added that ground study conducted recently (2008-2009) confirmed the occurence of six species of seagrass in the inter-tidal and sub-tidal regions of the coastline, stretching from 30km between Kuala Bangkulit near the Sarawak-Sabah border and Awat-Awat, close to the Brunei border.
timyang
 
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