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Reef Check Malaysia Annual Survey Report 2010

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Reef Check Malaysia Annual Survey Report 2010

Post Number:#1  Postby timyang » Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:17 pm


1. A total of 93 Reef Check surveys were completed in 2010, 46 in peninsular Malaysia and 47
in East Malaysia. Although slightly fewer than 2009, the surveys are a continuation of a successful
National Reef Check Survey Programme that has now run for four years.
2. The surveys were carried out by volunteers trained and certified in the global standard Reef
Check method. 42 people were trained during 2010, adding to the base of volunteers who
are participating in Reef Check Malaysia’s programmes. A third of trainees were upgrading
their certification to Trainer level, reflecting growing interest from participants. Surveys were
carried out on several islands off Peninsular Malaysia’s East coast inside established Marine
Protected Areas, and in various parts of East Malaysia, both Sabah and Sarawak.
3. The results indicate that the reefs surveyed have a relatively high level of living hard coral,
some 10% above the regional average.
4. The level of recently killed corals indicates continuing recovery from the 1997-8 global
bleaching event that killed 10% of the world’s reefs. However, many of the surveys were carried
out before another major bleaching event, which started early in the second half of 2010.
It is likely that post-bleaching surveys will register higher levels of recently killed corals.
5. Low levels of abundance of high-value species of fish (such as grouper) and shellfish (such
as lobster) were recorded, indicating slow recovery from past overfishing and possible continuing
problems with poaching inside Marine Protected Areas.
6. Continuing – and in some cases increasing – high incidences of algae at some reefs indicate
that some reefs are suffering from an ecosystem imbalance due to elevated nutrient inputs,
possibly from sewage and agriculture activities (particularly plantations), coupled with low
herbivory by fish and sea urchins.
7. A series of recommendations is provided with a focus on better education and enforcement
of existing laws. In particular, the government is asked to support further survey programmes,
to take steps to build resilience of coral reefs and to establish a comprehensive Bleaching
Response Plan, to enable it to better respond to future mass coral bleaching events.
8. While tourism is a valuable source of income, the government is asked to require hotels and
dive facilities to follow best practices including careful attention to sewage treatment and discharge,
and education of clients so as to avoid damage to reefs.
9. Coral reefs are a valuable economic and biological resource in Malaysia, where they are a
major attraction for the tourism industry, serve as a protein source for millions of people and
are a major source of biodiversity. One estimate puts the economic value of well-managed
coral reefs in South East Asia at around US $ 12.7 billion per annum. Coral reefs are threatened
due to global warming, overfishing, pollution and sedimentation.
10. Reef Check is a coral reef monitoring methodology used worldwide to assess the health of
coral reefs in over 82 countries worldwide, and in Malaysia since 2001. The non-profit Reef
Check Malaysia Bhd (RCM) is available to oversee training and surveys in Malaysia.
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