Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

Indicators of Governance of Marine Ecotourism Resources: Perception of Communities in Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu

Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

Indicators of Governance of Marine Ecotourism Resources: Perception of Communities in Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu

Article excerpt

1.INTRODUCTION

The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park in Sabah was gazetted as a marine park in 1974, then in 1994 it was established as the first Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Malaysia. The park covers an area of 50 sq kilometres comprising five islands. At present, Malaysia has established 53 coral reef Marine Protected Areas, comprising 42 coral reef MPAs in Peninsular Malaysia established by the Department of Marine Park Malaysia (DMPM), eight in Sabah formed by the Sabah Wildlife Department and three in Sarawak created by the Forest Department of Sarawak (Department of Marine Parks Malaysia, 2011). Each Marine Park forms a protected area, in the sea, with one or two nautical miles of "no-take" zone from the shore at lowest tide. The objectives of establishing Marine Protected Areas in Malaysia include resource conservation and fish stock enhancement. Thus, only non-extractive activities are allowed within the Parks, and fishing is prohibited (Wilkinson, 2004).

It has been pointed out that the objectives of establishing the Marine Protected Areas in Malaysia may not be achieved due to a number of threats that have degraded the coral resources where fishes seek food and shelter. These threats arise from increased tourism activities, siltation and pollution from land-based activities such as construction of tourism infrastructure, improper waste disposal, littering and run-offs from agricultural activities as well as illegal fishing (Reef Check Malaysia, 2011). Similarly, in a report on Reefs in the Coral Triangle Initiative by Wilkinson (2008) indicates that, in countries within Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Eastern Malaysia, and Timor Leste), the urgency to achieve economic development have resulted in permanent damage to the coral resources brought about by heavy soil sedimentation, over fishing to fulfil the increasing demand for fish protein, and industrial sewage pollution. In the case of Pulau Payar, a popular snorkelling and diving spot, Embun (2010) indicated that more than 60% of coral reefs were under medium to high level of threats due to bleaching. Recreational activities can have a significant impact on the environment. For example, careless anchoring of boats in coral gardens, stepping on and touching corals during diving and snorkelling, and fishing have significantly damaged coral reefs, and the growth in the numbers of people causing overcrowding in the reef gardens is a further cause for concern (Prabhakaran, Nair and Ramachandran, 2016).

The effectiveness of MPAs management may also be affected because several government agencies have overlapping jurisdictions in the management of marine resources. More specifically, land matters are under the jurisdiction of state governments while the Department of Marine Parks Malaysia (DPMM) has jurisdiction over MPAs' water areas from the lowest tide line up to two nautical miles seaward. On top of that, the Department of Fisheries Malaysia (DoFM) has jurisdiction pertaining to the conservation of fisheries resources. These overlapping jurisdictions may pose a major detriment to coral resources conservation and fish stock enhancement for MPAs by DoFM. The conservation of the mosaic of habitats in the seascape and landscape is very important as stressed by Arnason (2000), since aquatic organisms are known to use more than one habitat at different times of their lifecycles. Thus, biodiversity conservation and marine resource enhancement in MPAs would be more effective and sustainable if there is a better understanding, and coordination among various government agencies, as well as integration and extension of management of the seascape habitats that includes a landscape matrix of ecosystems.

1.1. Governance of Marine Protected Area

The main objective of the establishment of the MPAs is to protect the marine resources which are important sources for the livelihoods of the communities who are dependent on the marine resources; however, there are argument among interested parties such as the fisheries agencies, researchers, local communities and even among the policy makers against the effectiveness of the MPAs. …

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