Only some dive sites off-limits

Posted on July 23, 2010. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

-The Star- PETALING JAYA: Divers and operators can still dive at certain areas around dive sites located in the Pulau Tioman and Pulau Redang marine parks.

“Only some areas have been closed to protect the coral,” said Reef Check Malaysia general manager Julian Hyde.

Hyde said he had received many calls from divers and operators asking whether they would still be able to dive at their favourite dive sites around the islands.

Yesterday, The Star reported that several dive sites in Tioman and Redang were temporarily marked off-limits to divers until the end of October.

Marine Park Department director-general Abd Jamal Mydin said this was done to protect the coral reefs which had turned white, adding that the department would continue to monitor popular dive sites affected by coral bleaching.

Turning white: Coral gradually losing its colour from bleaching.

Hyde also said the reefs were being closely monitored by the department and the restricted areas could change subject to the health of the coral.

He said Reef Check was working with dive operators on the islands to identify sites that were more likely to withstand bleaching.

“The more resilient sites will serve as a source to replenish the bleached sites,” he said.

He added that Reef Check would propose that the department close those areas to minimise stress to the coral.

Samad Rahim, 58, who frequently dives at Tioman and Redang, said he was initially worried that his regular dive sites would be closed.

“After I checked with some friends, I found it was only certain areas that are off-limits.

“If the dive sites are completely closed, this will cripple the industry and the livelihood of the locals will be affected,” said Samad, who works as a business consultant.

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