The Marine Programme covers 3 pillar strategies; Marine Habitat, Marine Species and Marine Footprint.
The focus goals that Malaysia marine conservation targets are:
The programme aims for long-term protection of human well-being and food security, through healthy marine ecosystems that support a number of flagship and footprint species and habitat. These include marine turtles, tuna, coral reef and pelagic sharks, humphead wrasse, marine mammals and mangrove. Indirectly, this may also address the needs of 30 million people in Malaysia who mostly derive their protein from fish.
Extra Commitment Secured for Responsible Seafood Sourcing
In FY20, the team secured three individual hotel partnerships in Klang Valley. Two of these formal partnerships were established with properties under Accor and Marriott International focusing on the elements of responsible seafood sourcing and food waste management. The third MoU partnership was secured with Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur and marked the first holistic hospitality partnership for WWF-Malaysia. The collaboration extends over five market-based priority areas (food waste, seafood, plastics, paper), with funding channelled for conservation efforts.
A Significant Decrease of Blast Fishing in Semporna
WWF-Malaysia’s data monitoring of blast fishing in Semporna has shown a significant reduction of up to 73% in detected blasts around the areas of Bait and Omadal Island compared to FY18 and FY19. The decrease is a result of collaborative efforts among the agencies involved in the Anti-Fish Bombing Enforcement and Education Committee chaired by the Semporna District Officer. The Anti-Fish Bombing efforts were highlighted during a ‘Monday Blues’ series of virtual talks on 8 June 2020, in conjunction with Coral Triangle Day (which fell on 9 June 2020).
Positive Progress for WWF-Malaysia’s Turtle Conservation
On-the ground patrolling at nesting beaches within WWF-Malaysia’s project sites has led to a high number of saved marine turtle nests from being poached during nesting season in 2019. In Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) and Semporna, a collaboration with conservation partners from Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) and resort operators has resulted in a total of 719 green, 16 hawksbill, and 1 olive ridley nests saved. In Terengganu, a total of 214 and 530 nests were saved in Setiu and Ma’Daerah, respectively. In Melaka, a total of 548 nests were safely incubated by turtle guardians. Egg poaching rates in Melaka and Terengganu were less than 3% during the nesting season, a decrease from the baseline that was established in FY18.
WWF-Malaysia’s Marine Programme Lends a Hand to Local communities during Covid-19
WWF-Malaysia’s Semporna Marine team set out to assist island communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by raising funds to help support their livelihood and provide food relief through the WAPO (Women Association of Omadal Island) Love Basket campaign. Besides raising cash donations, the campaign also helped secure orders of WAPO grocery baskets for the communities. Funds collected were used to provide food aid relief for 49 households on Omadal Island and other island communities impacted by the Movement Control Order.
At the same time, the WWF-Malaysia team in Tun Mustapha Park collaborated with its community partners; Kekal Asli Tigabu Society and the Tigabu Representative of Native Chief (Sabah Native Court); to co-organise an emergency aid initiative to assist communities on Tigabu Island affected by the pandemic. The initiative which started in early April saw the WWF-Malaysia team remotely supporting a crowdfunding campaign; while the community partners implemented work on the ground. The campaign raised enough to provide grocery aid for 130 households on the island.
This adaptive activity helped provide emergency aid for the community, increase the communities’ financial management capacity, strengthen rapport with village leaders, and increase
nationwide visibility for Kekal Asli Tigabu Society. In addition to this, the team also conducted a rapid study on the fishery conditions during the pandemic in early April 2020, with aim of understanding the general impacts of COVID-19 to fishing communities in TMP.
Opportunities to Diversify Livelihood Sources
Two community groups have successfully been established as legal business entities – LA’NU and Po’On. LA’NU is an enterprise group of women from Banggi Island and Taritipan, Kota Marudu that focuses on producing natural skincare products. Since its inception in November 2019, LA’NU has generated good income from the sale of their products, out of which 10% was contributed to their conservation funds. Po’On consists of members from the Taritipan Youth Club (ANBATAR), who aim to diversify their sources of income from mangrove-based products such as stingless bee honey and insect repellents. In June 2020, the enterprise documented its first inflow of income from the selling of raw stingless bee honey. Po’On has also launched a YouTube Channel to raise awareness of the environment, promote their community-based products, and generate revenue from YouTube.