Submitted by Reef Check Malaysia
This year marks the auspicious 10th Anniversary for Reef Check Malaysia (RCM)! The past 10 years have truly been a learning experience for us, and RCM has evolved almost beyond recognition. We are very excited to continue what we do best, conserving the coral reefs of Malaysia. Starting from a small group of dedicated people carrying out surveys around Malaysia, RCM has transformed into a well-staffed organization with a strong track record of improving the management of Malaysia's marine resources through a co-management approach. We believe such co-management schemes provide an equitable mechanism to share both costs and benefits.
RCM has carried out many programs throughout the years, including marine education and awareness programs with urban and city schools, active RC survey programs across Malaysia, and skill-building programs with local island communities to build capacity and encourage diverse income sources. As a result of these efforts, RCM has recently been able to encourage the move from a top-down approach to a co-management approach in the daily management of marine protected areas, one of our biggest success stories to date.
This is an exciting time for all of us at RCM. We are currently focused on improving marine management in four areas – Tioman Island, Mantanani Island, Sibu Tinggi Island and Sembilan Island – either by changing the way existing marine managed areas are working or by establishing new managed areas. This year, we have raised over RM 1.5 million for long-term projects to help local stakeholders work together with government to better manage their marine resources. One of RCM's roles is to champion the voices of local stakeholders, ensuring their views are given a fair hearing.
Some key achievements of the past 10 years are listed below:
|Kicked off our very first survey program and have since continued it annually. More sites have been added over the years, which have helped strengthen our annual data.
|Started our very own education program entitled “Rainforest to Reef” (R2R). It was initially designed for students living on islands but was later modified to suit other students in urban areas.
|Carried out our first surveys in Sabah, and more survey sites have been since included.
|Launched Sustainable Island Program, our first foray into community engagement and consultation.
|Began rehabilitation/resilience studies to improve our understanding of reef processes and how to prioritize conservation programs.
|Opened an office in Sabah to strengthen our presence and support more work done there.
|Started fish bombing campaign in response to growing concerns from stakeholders about the widespread practice.
|Established an office on Tioman Island, which now has four full-time staff running our programs on the island, under the “Cintai Tioman” community program.
|Moved deeper into the concept of co-management and have been advocating for this change within marine protected areas ever since.
|Established an office on Mantanani Island, Sabah. We have four full time staff on the island, working closely with the local community.
What we have achieved since 2007 would not have been possible without the help of our friends, supporters, partners, and sponsors to whom we are indebted.
|A volunteer assisting in conducting an RC survey
|One of the many school education programmes with a school on Tioman Island
|First aid training (one of the skill building programmes with a local island community)
|Part of a community workshop on Mantanani Island to gauge views of the locals on a proposed marine managed area around the island.