The Asean Post –
Over the years, a number of abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing nets have found their way around the coral reefs of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park in the Malaysian state of Sabah. Concerned that this may impact their business, divers operating within the protected marine park have removed the discarded fishing gear. But despite their best efforts, more and more abandoned or lost fishing nets are slowly drifting into the state marine park and threatening the coral reefs and marine life there.
The divers have highlighted the matter to Sabah Parks and the Sabah fisheries department, calling upon them to address the pressing issue. Their fear is not only that these drifting death nets are trapping marine wildlife and strangling coral reefs, but also having a negative impact on tourism activities in the area. The situation is bound to worsen if it is left to fester without effective and proper measures and enforcement in place. The divers have claimed to have removed fishing nets of up to 300 metres in length that were caught on reefs in the waters off the five protected islands of Gaya, Sapi, Manukan, Mamutik, and Sulug. In the last month, the group of divers have discovered and removed more than 13 ghost nets as a result of sponsored clean-up initiatives.