by Reef Check Malaysia Coordinator Julian Hyde
Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) Coordinator Julian Hyde sends us this update on his organization’s activities:
After certifying 98 EcoDivers in 2008, RCM is looking to train and certify more EcoDivers this year.
During the past 3 months, RCM has been busy implementing a new approach to training, which includes two theory and pool sessions in Kuala Lumpur to prepare interested divers before moving on to open water training on one of the islands. These sessions place greater emphasis on buoyancy skills and include methodology training.
Once these sessions have been completed, participants will have the opportunity to sign up to complete their training on one of three islands – Tioman, Redang or Perhentian. Once qualified as EcoDivers, they will be encouraged to join our survey programme under the Sustainable Island Programme (see below).
Sustainable Island Programme
In 2009, RCM will continue working in collaboration with Wild Asia Sdn Bhd on the Sustainable Island Programme (SIP), with sponsorship from Sime Darby. This project combines the strengths of both Wild Asia and Reef Check to improve the marine condition on the islands.
The funds will be used to continue the survey programme started in 2008, as well as to implement the second phase of the programme, which is to work with resorts and dive operators on the islands to implement Responsible Tourism activities within their operations. The results from Reef Check surveys will be discussed with the operators to encourage them to practice responsible tourism to reduce their impacts on the marine ecosystem.
Rainforest to Reef Programme
RCM has received funding from Alstom Foundation to develop and implement its “Rainforest to Reef” outreach programme for the school children of five Marine Park Island schools. The programme consists of two main activities: a three-day Coral Reef Camp and two supporting activities.
The programme will start in March, with the first supporting activity held simultaneously on three Marine Park islands – Perhentian, Redang and Tioman. The Camps will be held between April and August.
Perhentian Island Project
RCM has received funding from the Global Environment Facility, under their Small Grants Programme, to implement an island-wide conservation programme on Perhentian Island.
RCM will be working with the stakeholders on the islands, including local villagers, resort and dive operators, and school children. The project will include a series of awareness programmes as well as workshops to find solutions to the issues affecting the natural resources on the island.
RCM would like to thank the following major sponsors for their support: YTL Group, Sime Darby, Alstom Power, HSBC, BP Malaysia, and KPMG.