Archived project

Malaysia: Studying and protecting the coral reefs of the Pulau Tioman Marine Park through Reef Check and citizen science

Goal: Studying and protecting the coral reefs of the Pulau Tioman Marine Park through Reef Check and citizen science. OUTCOME: The coral reef expedition to Tioman Island, Malaysia started in 2012 and ran until 2016. Biosphere Expeditions provided vital data on coral reef health and human-induced threats within the Tioman archipelago – data that were previously unavailable. We also helped build the foundation for 'Cintai Tioman', a long-term programme to increase social and ecological resilience on the island.

Date: 18 March 2012 - 23 August 2016

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Matthias Hammer
added 3 research items
Abstract In August 2016 citizen science volunteers from Biosphere Expeditions along with a marine scientist from Reef Check Malaysia conducted reef health assessments at various sites around Tioman Island (Malaysia), using the Reef Check methodology. The surveys were part of a continuous study first started in 2012 and replicated in 2013. Results showed that generally coral reefs in the area were in ‘Good’ condition (as defined by Chou et al. 1994) with a total average of 58% live coral cover (50% hard coral and 8% soft coral). This is higher than the national average of 46% recorded in 2015 (Reef Check Malaysia 2016) and an improvement on the 52% recorded during the last Biosphere Expeditions survey in 2013. Furthermore, coral reefs around Tioman also appeared to be resilient to the 2015/16 global bleaching event, with only 4% of the population showing signs of bleaching. Corals which did bleach also showed positive signs of recovery as only 13% of the surface area of colonies were still bleached by August 2016 and less than 1% of recently killed coral was recorded. However, highly-priced marine life collected for the food and curio trades continue to be either absent, or were recorded in very low numbers throughout all survey sites. Moreover, discarded fishing gear along with algae that indicate high nutrient content in the water confirm that illegal harvesting of marine life along with increased development on land continue to be the main threats to reefs around Tioman. Improved enforcement of existing Marine Park laws to protect fish no-take zones, better coastal development planning, reduction of tourism impacts, as well as better waste management and sewage treatment systems are critical if local threats are to be reduced and resilience of the reefs within the Tioman Archipelago towards global impacts is to be achieved. Abstrak Pada bulan Ogos 2016, sukarelawan dari Biosphere Expeditions bersama dengan penyelidik dari Reef Check Malaysia, telah menjalankan pemantauan kesihatan terumbu karang di sekitar perairan Pulau Tioman dengan menggunakan kaedah Reef Check. Pemantauan ini merupakan sebahagian daripada satu penyelidikan jangka panjang yang telah bermula pada tahun 2012 dan di ulangi pada 2013 bersama Biosphere Expeditions.Kajian menunjukkan bahawa secara amnya terumbu karang di sekitar perairan Pulau Tioman berada dalam keaadan yang ‘Baik’ (seperti ditakrifkan oleh Chou et al1994) dengan purata litupan karang hidup setinggi 58% (50% Karang Keras dan 8% Karang Lembut) dan adalah lebih tinggi daripada purata kadar litupan karang hidup untuk Malaysia yang hanya 46% pada tahun 2015 (Reef Check Malaysia 2016) dan peningkatan dari 52% yang telah direkod semasa Ekspidisi Biosphere pada 2013. Terumbu di perairan ini juga mempunyai daya tahan yang tinggi terhadap kelunturan karang 2015/16 dimana hanya 4% populasi karang terluntur. Karang ini jugak menunjukkan kadar pulih yang tinggi dimana hanya 13% permukaan karang yang masih luntur dan kurang daripada 1% yang mati. Walaubagaimanapun, hidupan laut bernilai tinggi yang dijual untuk makanan atau industri perhiasan dan cenderahati jarang dijumpai di kebanyakan kawasan yang dipantau. Kehadiran alatan penangkapan ikan terbiar dan rumpai laut berlebihan di terumbu karang, menunjukkan bahawa penangkapan ikan secara haram dan pembangunan pesat di pulau adalah ancaman utama kepada terumbu karang di perairan Pulau Tioman. Penguatkuasaan undang-undang Taman Laut yang lebih baik untuk melindungi kawasan terpelihara, peranchangan pembangunan persisiran pantai yang lebih baik, pengurangan impak pelancongan serta pengurusan sisa pepejal dan sisa kumbahan yang lebih baik adalah penting untuk menguragkan impak tempatan dan meningkatkan daya tahan terumbu karang di perairan Tioman terhadap ancaman global.
Abstract Tioman Archipelago has long been a popular tourist destination, especially among divers and snorkellers that come to visit the coral reefs in this area. However, little is known about the coral reefs that surround the island, particularly along the east coast of Tioman and Pemanggil Islands. In March and April of 2013, two teams of volunteers from Biosphere Expeditions, along with a marine scientist from Reef Check Malaysia, conducted reef health assessments at various sites around the islands, using the Reef Check methodology. This was part of a continuous study first started in 2012 in collaboration with Biosphere Expeditions. Results showed that reefs were in ‘good’ condition with a total average of 52.50% live coral cover, which is higher than the national average of 46.37% recorded in 2012 (Reef Check Malaysia 2013). However, highly valued seafood such as lobsters and commercial food fish occurred at low densities or were absent during most surveys. Alongside the ever-present illegal fishing, coastal development poses the greatest risk to the reefs. Evidence of coastal runoff, such as sedimentation and high nutrient indicator algae cover, and sewage pollution was observed at a number of sites surveyed. Improved enforcement of Marine Park laws and better coastal development planning are vital in reducing local threats and building resilience of the reefs within the Tioman Archipelago. Abstrak Pulau Tioman dan pulau-pulau di rantaunya telah lama menjadi kawasan tarikan pelancong, terutamanya antara penyelam SKUBA yang datang untuk menikmati terumbu karang di kawasan ini. Walaubagaimanapun hanya sedikit diketahui mengenai keadaan terumbu karang terutamanya di sebelah Timur Pulau Tioman dan Pulau Pemanggil. Pada bulan Mac dan April 2013, dua kumpulan sukarelawan daripada Biosphere Expeditions, bersama dengan seorang saintis marin daripada Reef Check Malaysia, telah menjalankan pemantauan terumbu karang di beberapa kawasan di sekitar pulau-pulau tersebut, dengan menggunakan kaedah Reef Check. Ini merupakan sambungan kajian yang pertama kalinya diadakan pada tahun 2012 bersama Biosphere Expeditions. Keputusan menunjukkan bahawa terumbu karang di kawasan tersebut berada dalam keadaan yang ‘baik’ dengan purata litupan karang hidup sebanyak 52.50% dan melebihi purata negara (46.37%) yang dicatat pada tahun 2012 (Reef Check Malaysia 2013). Akan tetapi makanan laut yang bernilai tinggi seperti Udang Galah dan Ikan Mameng tidak dijumpai di kebanyakan kawasan kajian. Selain daripada masalah penangkapan ikan secara haram, pembangunan pantai yang tidak terancang merupakan ancaman utama kepada terumbu.Buktinya dapat dilihat di beberapa kawasan kajian. Peningkatan penguatkuasaan undang-undang Taman Laut dan pembangunan kawasan pantai yang lebih terancang adalah mustahak untuk mengurangkan ancaman tempatan sambil membina daya ketahanan terumbu dikawasan kepulauan Tioman.
Abstract Tioman and surrounding islands are a popular tourist destination with visitors being attracted by the abundant marine life. The region, however, is under threat from a number of different impacts, not unlike other regions in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Reef health assessments, using the Reef Check methodology, were carried out by a group of volunteers and scientists in March and April 2012. Health was found to be generally fair to good, but there are definite threats to this health status. On-land development, particularly on the mainland, poses the highest risk to the reefs in the South China Sea, because of resulting sedimentation. Widespread illegal fishing, despite clear but unenforced fishing bans in the Marine Park, is also a concern, causing overfishing. The use of fish traps is another concern, causing localised, devastating damage to the reef. Irresponsible diving and snorkelling activity is also an issue, albeit a small one at current levels, but boat anchor breakage is a higher priority. Crown-of-thorns starfish are undoubtedly causing a decline in reef health. However, ambiguity exists on how to manage these predators. Finally, warm water coral bleaching is responsible for a large die-off of corals in the last decade or more. On the whole, the islands have a very good chance of recovery and increase in health, but only if marine park management and other government authorities prioritise the needs of these financially essential reefs. Fishing needs to be better regulated as does on-land development, both on the island and the mainland. Education of locals and tourists is also key to protecting this unique and beautiful group of islands and their reefs. Abstrak Tioman dan pulau-pulau di sekitarnya adalah destinasi pelancong yang popular dengan para pengunjung tertarik dengan kehidupan marin yang banyak. Rantau ini, bagaimanapun, adalah di bawah pelbagai ancaman, serupa rantau lain di Lautan Indo-Pasifik. Penilaian kesihatan terumbu, menggunakan kaedah Reef Check, telah dijalankan oleh sekumpulan sukarelawan dan saintis pada bulan Mac dan April 2012. Kesihatan terumbu secara amnya berada dalam keadaan sederhana ke baik, tetapi terdapat ancaman yang jelas terhadap status kesihatan ini. Pembangunan, terutamanya di tanah besar, merupakan risiko tertinggi terhadap terumbu di Laut China Selatan, disebabkan oleh pemendapan. Penangkapan ikan secara berleluasa di Tioman dan undang-undang yang tidak dikuatkuasakan menyebabkan penangkapan ikan berlebihan. Penggunaan bubu merupakan satu kebimbangan, menyebabkan kerosakan setempat yang teruk kepada terumbu. Aktiviti menyelam dan snorkeling yang tidak bertanggungjawab merupakan satu isu juga, walaupun adalah satu isu yang kecil pada masa kini, tetapi kerosakan yang disebabkan oleh sauh bot adalah lebih besar. Tapak sulaiman mahkota berduri juga menyebabkan kemerosotan kesihatan terumbu. Walau bagaimanapun, wujudnya kekaburan tentang bagaimana untuk menguruskan pemangsa ini. Akhirnya, kelunturan karang disebabkan oleh air suam bertanggungjawab terhadap kematian karang yang banyak dalam satu dekad yang lalu atau lebih. Secara keseluruhan, Tioman mempunyai peluang yang sangat baik dalam pemulihan dan peningkatan kesihatan terumbu, tetapi hanya jika jabatan taman laut dan pihak berkuasa kerajaan yang lain mengutamakan keperluan dan kepentingan terumbu ini. Aktiviti memancing dan pembangunan perlu dikawal dengan lebih baik, di pulau dan di tanah besar. Pendidikan kepada penduduk tempatan dan pelancong juga penting untuk melindungi keunikan dan keindahan kumpulan pulau-pulau ini dan terumbunya.
Matthias Hammer
added a project goal
Studying and protecting the coral reefs of the Pulau Tioman Marine Park through Reef Check and citizen science. OUTCOME: The coral reef expedition to Tioman Island, Malaysia started in 2012 and ran until 2016. Biosphere Expeditions provided vital data on coral reef health and human-induced threats within the Tioman archipelago – data that were previously unavailable. We also helped build the foundation for 'Cintai Tioman', a long-term programme to increase social and ecological resilience on the island.