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11.4.16

Micro Marine Protected areas for Semporna

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A Roadmap To Develop A Second Sipadan

The role of Micro Marine Protected Areas as a step towards development of the Semporna Barrier Reef Marine Conservation area


 Sipadan has unique geography and location.
BUT the sharks, turtles, fish and other biodiversity can occur in other places.

With this roadmap, Sabah could have many areas with as much tourism potential as Sipadan.

This project document describes practical steps and actions from many organisations and individuals to help develop sustainable ecotourism and rebuild a healthy ecosystem with reef sharks and breeding fish stocks in the Semporna District. This is a discussion document, please email Info@tracc-borneo.org with information, sightings, suggestions, improvements


Endangered Humphead wrasse -
These are still being eaten!

Table of Contents
Roadmap 2
Step 11 Sites for Micro MPA 6
Appendix I Site characteristics and choices 8
Appendix 2 Monitoring & further work 9


Roadmap

Step 1 The economics
Tourists come to Sipadan to be wowed by amazing fish, sharks and turtles. All tour operators compete for Sipadan permits.
More permits or alternative great dive sites would enable the industry to expand.

Step 2 Why is Sipadan unique?
Primarily because it has been protected and the fish, coral and shark populations are healthy.




There are beautiful reefs in many places around Semporna, but Sipadan has more big fish and the only abundant sharks. This is not Sipadan!








Step 3 What do visitors want to see?
Primary attraction is sharks. The bigger the better. Plus turtles and charismatic big fish such as the humphead wrasse.



Black tip reef sharks populations can recover BUT only if we stop eating them!


Step 4 What works
Langkayan island in SIMCA is a totally protected area North of Sandakan and has shown that reef recovery is possible. To expand diving tourism and create a 2nd Sipadan we need multiple additional areas where shark populations can recover without conflict with existing villagers.

Step 5 What works for ecotourism
In Sabah with many artisanal fishers, only areas with 100% no fishing can create world class ecotourism sites. Small sites with total protection are better than bigger sites with only partial protection.

Step 6 The best protection is ownership



Artificial reefs like this have been built by resorts to attract marine life.

Resorts which are responsible for their own reefs are the best environmental wardens. Many resorts in Semporna have invested money in rebuilding reefs for their guests. At the moment these underwater structures are not legally protected.
 
Step 7 Learn from Forests
The simplest solution to avoid conflict with local residents in the development of Marine Protected Areas (MPA's) is to learn from the terrestrial parks in Sabah:- Mount Kinabalu, Maliau Basin and Danum Valley were chosen because there were few or no people to create conflict as well as for the amazing biodiversity.

Step 8 What works for enforcement
Small protected areas close to ecotourism centres are the easiest to enforce. The house reef from each resort can become a small MPA with enforcement by Honorary Wildlife wardens.

The Darvel Bay reefs are too difficult to patrol and get limited visitors. The NE Semporna Islands, (Mataking, Pandanan, Timba Timba and Pom Pom Island) and the Roach reefs have no village and few fishermen. Mabul and Ligitan have big village communities with many fishermen.



Step 9 Aggregation sites need special protection.
Sites with large populations of fish, sharks, turtles or rays need a localised MPA with regular enforcement and patrols.
  • Sri Amil/Ligitan has unique, WORLD CLASS schools of Mobula Rays, These need focused conservation efforts.
  • Pom Pom Island has a small population of severely endangered Humphead wrasse.
  • Pom Pom Island, Mataking, Pandanan, Timba Timba have large populations of Turtles using the seagrass beds.

    Bumphead parrotfish are a major attraction on Sipadan BUT
    are eaten everywhere else
Step 10 Awareness of existing regulations

Proposed Protection for Endangered Marine life in Semporna

Location
Species
Action
Conservation status
Complete district
Turtles
No hunting/harvest
(National & CITES protection)
Critically endangered
Complete district
Giant clams (Tridacna & Hippopus Spp)
No hunting/harvest
(State wide protection)
Vulnerable (some species very rare)
Complete district
Whale shark
No hunting/harvest
(National & CITES protection)
Vulnerable
Complete district
Humphead wrasse
No hunting/harvest
(CITES protection)
Endangered
Complete district
Bumphead parrotfish
No hunting/harvest
(CITES protection)
Vulnerable
Complete district
Manta & Mobula Rays
No hunting/harvest
(CITES protection)
Threatened to regionally extinct
Complete district
Sharks
No targeted fishing. Bycatch by commercial fishing monitored & regulated
Threatened to regionally extinct
These are works in progress, please email with suggestions to Info@tracc-borneo.org


Aggregation sites for Mobula rays are a National treasure and should be totally protected. 
 






Step 11 Sites for Micro MPA


Proposed Micro MPA for Endangered Marine life in Semporna

Location
Species
MPA size
Enforcement
Roach reef
Black tip reef sharks
Coral reefs
500m long X 250m offshore from reef edge
Easy
Kapalai
Coral reefs
500m long X 250m offshore from reef edge
Limited conflicts
Mataking
Turtles, Big eye trevally, Barracuda
Coral reefs
West side of Mataking Besar X 250m offshore from reef edge
Easy
Pandanan
Turtles, Bumphead parrotfish
Coral reefs
1500m long X 250m offshore from reef edge
Easy
Pom Pom
Turtles, Sharks, Humphead wrasse, Bumphead parrotfish
Barracuda, Coral reefs
West side of Pom Pom X 250m offshore from reef edge
Easy
Timba Timba
Turtles, Bumphead parrotfish
Coral reefs
??
Village conflicts
Mabul
Coral reefs
?? Possibly Paradise 1 to SWV
Village conflicts
Seaventures Oil rig
Coral reefs
250m circle?
Village conflicts
These are works in progress, please email with suggestions to Info@tracc-borneo.org


Schools of jacks give photo opportunities at many locations. These are at Mataking island but there is no protection in Sabah for tourist attractions.


Step 12 Benefits
12a Environmental Benefits
These proposed Micro MPA will increase biodiversity and allow broodstock fish to develop and breed. The larvae from fish and other species will populate many reefs all over the region. The sites which have no villages will also protect a large number of endangered Turtles.
The public awareness program can also show villagers the destruction caused by blast fishing and the reef restoration effort needed to regrow reefs.

12b Economic benefits
For very little economic cost, the Semporna district will have a series of improved dive and snorkel sites that will help grow the numbers of tourists visiting. Protecting sharks and rays makes the most sense, A UMS study showed that dead sharks are worth RM5 million to Sabah while live sharks are worth RM200 million.

This pile of sharks is worth less than $100 US.
Every diver to sabah would pay an additional $100 to be able to dive with sharks!!


12c Relative benefits
The proposed Micro MPA are a very small proportion of the reef area in Semporna. These areas are very small for healthy big fish populations and tiny for shark areas but they represent a goal which could be achieved.

12d Benefits for nearby communities
MPA in other areas have shown that if 20% of a reef is protected then there are increased benefits to the other 80% of the reef because of export of adult and juvenile fish. The locations suggested as primary sites for Micro MPA are all chosen because there is no local village.

12e Equitable benefits
This proposal does not address the multiple user issues on islands with large local villages. Mabul. Kalapuan, Dinawan etc will each need community consultations to achieve different solutions.

Step 13 Administration
Administration of the Semporna Barrier reef Marine Protected Areas will need to be shared between the Private sector (Resorts, Hotels etc), the Government (District office, Wildlife Dept.) and NGO's (WWF, TRACC, Green Semporna Etc)

Reef restoration by TRACC grows coral to
restore reefs destroyed by blast fishing.















Appendix I Site characteristics and choices

Endangered Species Sites Comparisons

Turtles
Humphead
Wrasse
Bumphead
Parrotfish
Giant clams
Sipadan
Abundant
Common
Few
Common
Roach reef
Rare ??
Rare ??
Rare ??
??
Kapalai
Rare
Rare
Rare
Rare
Ligitan/Sri Amil
??
??
??
??
Mataking
Abundant
Rare
Rare
Rare
Pom Pom Island
Abundant
Common
Common
Common
Pandanan
Abundant
Rare
Rare
Rare
Other sites
Few
None
None
occasional





These are works in progress, please email with suggestions to Info@tracc-borneo.org



Reef Shark Sites Comparisons

Grey reef
shark
White tip
reef shark
Black tip
reef shark
Coral Cat
sharks
Sipadan
Few
Abundant
Few
Rarely seen
Roach reef
??
??
Common
??
Ligitan
??
??
??
??
Pom Pom Island
Rare
None
None
Common
Other sites
None
None
None
occasional
These are works in progress, please email with suggestions to Info@tracc-borneo.org



Appendix 2 Monitoring & further work


The monitoring tasks will change as the reefs start to recover but the following is a summary of the scope of work required to create a Marine Protected Area. Much of this information is available.

  • Biodiversity surveys to identify what species are present in the area.
  • GIS based Habitat survey to map the resources and identify where they are.
  • Identify priority areas and tasks for conservation.
  • Baseline surveys using standardised techniques for monitoring of critical near shore habitats, including mangrove, sea grass and reef communities.
  • Development of a management plan.
  • Conduct surveys for Sharks, Turtles, Sea Birds, giant clams, sea cucumber, Fish & Coral
  • Replant coral onto damaged reefs. Develop reef restoration techniques and assess effectiveness.
  • Clear the beaches of debris to encourage turtle nesting.
  • Monitor and record all instances of nesting and egg laying, turtles, birds, fish, coral etc.
  • Liase with the Wildlife dept. to remove introduced species such as cats to encourage the return of the sea bird populations.
  • Work with Wildlife, UMS, Fisheries and others to determine which rare species have been
  • removed from the island and determine if re-introductions of rare species is appropriate.
  • Improve awareness of the rich biodiversity within the MPA by taking photos, video and publishing these.
  • Write regular Internet, Blog, newspaper and magazine articles
  • Liase with ESSCOM, PGA and wildlife rangers to monitor violations of the MPA.
  • Conduct regular assessments of the effectiveness of the marine protected area.
  • Work with academic institutions to host Train the Trainers courses for future teachers, lecturers and academic mentors.
  • Mentor all volunteers, students and visitors to be environmental ambassadors for marine conservation.
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