Artifical Reefs Sunk in Malaysian National Park
Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) has sunk a wooden fishing boat in the Tioman Island Marine Park to create a new site for divers and to help provide a sustainable fishery for local people.
Alvin Chelliah, from RCM said: 'The main purpose is to create a site to attract divers. Renggis Island is a very popular dive site and is visited by divers with varying levels of qualification. We hope this new wreck will provide an alternative underwater attraction, reducing the pressure on natural reefs.'
Mark Chua, President of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation of Malaysia, which funded the project, said that there is a second, long-term objective of the programme. 'Wrecks can act as Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs), attracting large numbers of fish. We hope that, by deploying further wrecks on the boundary of the marine park, we can support the livelihoods of local fishermen on the island which in turn will continue to support local businesses such as restaurants on the island. This helps provide a means to continue traditional fishing practices and it further creates an opportunity for recreational fishing services.'
Similar wrecks had been sunk at Renggis Island 20 years ago and they have been a popular attraction. The wrecks quickly became a habitat for fish and occasionally large rays. However, these wrecks have since deteriorated and are no longer safe for divers.
The programme was implemented in collaboration with The Entrepreneurs’ Organisation of Malaysia, Department of Marine Parks Malaysia, Tioman Dive Operators Association and the Tioman Marine Conservation Group .