By Ang Yih Yih, Tan Suat Lay & Tan Tuan Yee
Photos by Coral Alliance
Our desire to save the coral reefs was bolstered when we witnessed the critically threatened corals around Pulau Redang.
Pulau Redang is part of a marine park and an important area of coral biodiversity in Malaysia but it is under threat.
Given the opportunity to get closer to precious marine life during the snorkeling trips, we realized how much coral reefs support the entire marine ecosystem. We saw fishes of different forms and sizes in and amongst the coral reefs, each living dependently with each other in a harmonious way. This valuable exposure left us terribly dismayed to see the coastal development, fishing activities and human ignorance that poses a serious threat to these beautiful yet fragile marine lives.
We heard the voices of the reefs crying for better care from humans. We humans who are endowed with rationality, should pool every effort to help save the vulnerable little creatures. A little effort from each of us makes a big difference as a whole.
We are grateful to MNS members Doc. Kana, Susila, Leong and Serina who guided us and other participants throughout the entire Redang educational trip, sharing with us their knowledge and experience of the environment and marine life. Their priceless knowledge alerted us even more to the importance of coral reefs and the marine community.
Being a part of the Project AWARE International Beach Clean Up organized by MNS and Redang on the second day was an unforgettable experience. Project AWARE is the dive industry’s leading non-profit organization committed to conserving the underwater environment through education, advocacy and action.
It was shocking to know that we had actually picked up more than 5,000 cigarette butts in less than one hour when the Beach Clean Up’s findings were revealed.
After the Clean Up, we were invited to visit Chagar Hutang, a turtle nesting site located on the northern part of Redang Island by Prof Chan Eng Heng. It is the project site of SEATRU (Sea Turtle Research Unit) where turtle eggs are incubated in situ (on site).
A briefing on the SEATRU project delivered by Prof Chan gave us a new found admiration for the work that SEATRU does in the conservation effort for turtles. Seeing the new-born turtles in a hut at Chagar Hutang has reinforced our enthusiasm to preserve Mother Nature and marine life.
This Redang educational trip would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of all the team members and MNS volunteer
s who dedicated their time to this worthwhile cause. Experiencing the beauty and wonders of the sea with our very own eyes is a million times far more amazing then looking at it through pictures. The beach clean-up, snorkeling trips and talks taught us more than we could ever ask for.
We must all be aware of the human-related developments that have put so much pressure on the helpless underwater coral and marine community and motivate all those around us to save the ocean’s sacred garden.
The MNS Marine Group (Selangor Branch) says: The latest report from one of our members indicates that there might be moves to build yet another (illegal) jetty on Pasir Panjang in P. Redang. Public furore might help to put a stop to further development on this beleaguered beach. Pick up a pen and write in to the mainstream media now…