Reef Guardian’s 10th Anniversary

In the year of 2014, Reef Guardian celebrates its 10th anniversary after years of committing its purpose in marine conservation, more exclusively in the management of Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA). This also marked the anniversary of long services by Ms. Achier Chung, Mr. Abdul Rashid bin Derup (10 years service) and Ms. Leony Sikim (9 years) in this organisation. In conjunction to these, Reef Guardian had organised a family day at Billean Island on 23rd – 24th November 2014. The activity was also joined by members from Pulau Sipadan Resort and Tours and Lankayan Island Dive Resort.

Community Outreach Programme with Kg. Trusan Sugut Villagers

An outreach programme with the fishing community of Kg. Trusan Sugut was organised by Reef Guardian on 14th-16th November 2014. This programme was funded by Ministry of Science and Technology (MOSTI) under Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) community program. The program was organised with collaboration of the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and Department of Fisheries Sabah (DOF). A total of 16 participants from Kg. Trusan Sugut were invited to participate in the 3 days 2 night program. The program was mainly held in Sugud Islands Marine Research Centre (SIMRC) in Billean Island. The objective of the programme was to provide awareness to the fishing community on the conservation efforts being undertaken by Reef Guardian to manage and protect marine biodiversity and ecosystem within SIMCA. On top of that, it was also an opportunity for Reef Guardian to provide profound understanding to the villagers on the importance of marine protected area in generating long-term benefits for all stakeholders and the importance of protection of groupers’ spawning aggregations for dispersal of larvae from marine protected area to fishing grounds.

Deployment of Water Temperature Loggers

The deployments of two HOBO Water Temperature Pro V2 loggers at Lankayan’s reefs were carried out on 7th October 2014 to be used to monitor the changes in sea temperature in the long run, where significant change or pattern could possibly relate to a particular environmental change(s) or phenomenon(s).

Public Exhibition for 50th Anniversary of Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre

A week after the ROR event, Reef Guardian was invited to another event, organised by Sabah Wildlife Department: the 50th Anniversary of Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre on 11th -12th October 2014. Reef Guardian set its exhibition booth alongside with other agencies such as WWF-Malaysia, Sabah Parks and Danau Girang Field Centre.

Public Exhibition for Borneo Rhythm of Rimba Wildlife Festival (ROR)

A newly formed ecogroup - Future Alam Borneo (or in short, FAB) had organised the first wildlife-focused festival in Malaysia, the Borneo Rhythm of Rimba Wildlife Festival (ROR) on 3rd and 4th October 2014, to gather wildlife-conservation-based agencies, such as Reef Guardian, Danau Girang Field Centre, Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre, WWF-Malaysia, and HUTAN and provide platform for them to showcase their conservation efforts and also raise awareness on the issues concerning wildlife and importance of wildlife conservation. Held at Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok, the festival also included musical performances, arts and dance workshops, video shows, arts and crafts booths and exhibits, fitness activities, etc.

Beach Clean-up at Tegaipil Beaches

Beach clean-up was conducted on 30th August 2014 at Tegaipil beaches by Reef Guardian team, interns and an LIDR staff. Trashes that were collected were consisting of plastic bags, paper, cloth, nets and polystyrene.

Deployment of Fish Blast Detectors

On 16th-19th August 2014, five blast detectors were deployed at 5 different reefs within SIMCA. These blast detectors were designed and donated by Oceanway Corporation Limited (OCL) to Reef Guardian in aid for the efforts to determine the blasting statistics, which serve as an important information for SIMCA enforcement and other enforcement agencies, like Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to combat the illegal fishing.

Internship by UMS Students

From 1st July – 6th September 2014, there were three students (Haziq Abdul Hamid, Nagammai a/p Kannapan, Nurul Shahniza binti Tusin) from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) who carried their industrial practical in SIMCA. Throughout the period, they were exposed to various marine conservation activities which included sea turtle monitoring program, Reef Check surveys, shallow reef survey, and video presentation. Each of the interns also conducted their mini research project throughout the period of internship.

Abandoned Fishing Net Retrieval at Lucky Star

Another abandoned fishing net was found in Lucky Star reef site during the conduct of Humphead Wrasse survey around the reef site in 3rd July 2014. The net was a trawling net, with size at about 25m x 10m (or 250m2), which extended from reef edge to the reef slope. The removal effort was conducted on 4th July 2014 by Reef Guardian dive team and an intern.

Research Presentation during 3rd Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium

Reef Guardian, represented by Achier Chung, had presented the research findings on “Spatial and Temporal Aggregation Pattern of Coral Trout at Lankayan Island” at the 3rd Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium held in Taiwan on 23rd-27th June 2014. Ms. Achier presented her findings on the Plectropomus leopardus aggregation spatial and temporal pattern. The symposium was attended by at least 400 scientists, biologists, socio-economic expects and interested public personnel.

Poster Presentation during Coral Triangle Day

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) celebrated the Coral Triangle Day, in conjunction with the World Ocean Day on 26th June 2014 at Borneo Marine Research Institute (BMRI), UMS. During this event, Reef Guardian was invited to take part in the poster presentation alongside with other NGOs such as WWF and Reef Check. The objective of the event is to introduce the role of Coral Triangle Initiative and its activities in Malaysia to public besides raising awareness of the importance of the protection of the oceans. The event was joined by various local stakeholders, including school children and villagers from the coastal areas. In the poster presentation, Reef Guardian had presented a poster of “Mapping of Coral Trout (Plectropomus leopardus) Spawning Aggregation at Lankayan Island, Sabah, Malaysia”. Visitors of the event had the chance to learn about the on-going research works within SIMCA and other conservation activities by Reef Guardian.

Reef Check Training

Reef Check training was carried out in the month of May 2014 on two Reef Guardian staffs. The training was led by Achier Chung, a certified Reef Check trainer. The training consisted of slide presentations, practical trials and identification tests for indicator fishes, invertebrates and substrates. This training was done to produce certified Reef Check eco-divers to expand the research team for the conduct of Reef Check survey within SIMCA.

Ecosystem Approach Fisheries Management (EAFM)

Reef Guardian participated three Ecosystem Approach Fisheries Management (EAFM) trainings in 2014 (10th-15th February 2014, 10th-15th August 2014, and 26th-29th October 2014), organised by Department of Fisheries, Sabah. This training was held to train the trainee to use EAFM as tools for making an inclusive fisheries management plan.

Whale Shark Sightings

This year, there were two reported sightings of whale shark. The first sighting was on 20th February 2014 by a Dive Master and his guest while they were diving just in front of the Dive Centre jetty, and the second sighting was on 17th May 2014 at Froggie Fort. The sizes of the whale shark were estimated to be less than 10m and around 3m, respectively.

Abandoned Fishing Net Retrieval at Sandbar

Informed by Dive Master of Lankayan Island Dive Resort on the presence of abandoned fishing net in Sandbar reef site, the inspection and removal efforts were carried out by the Reef Guardian dive team on 20th February 2014. The net was in shreds and entangled several corals. Collectively, the net weighted at 15kg.

Hatchery II Expansion

Throughout the month of February and March, Hatchery II was expanded in size to accommodate the sea turtle nests that was expected to increase this year due to the general increase of turtle nesting from year to year. The number of turtle nests last year was the highest than the previous years, where nest translocations in 2013 were even conducted outside of turtle hatcheries as all hatcheries were full at that time.

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